Clicking on any of the Alaska Counties or Cities below will direct you to a list of all the City Jails, County Jails and Juvenile Detention Centers in that specific County.
As of 2022, Alaska has the sad distinction of having the more violent criminals per capita than any other state in the country. There are 12 state prisons and 15 locally operated jails in the state. Even with a high incarceration rate, it’s thought that many crimes go unpunished in the Alaska, sometimes because of a lack of law enforcement in rural areas, and the vast distances that law enforcement agents have to travel to respond to incidents. Many communities can only be accessed by boats or planes. Since 1980, the number of women prisoners housed in Alaska has risen dramatically. Women are mostly housed in the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, but because of crowding, they’ve also been house in the Lemon Creek Correctional Center. It’s hard to believe, but at this Center, the inmates sometimes live outside in tents, due to the growing population for the past 20 years.
Jails in Alaska differ from prisons in that jails are where offenders are transported and housed while they await trials for misdemeanor crimes and felonies. Many jails are large enough that they have the resources and space to separate misdemeanor, non-violent offenders from violent offenders such as a those accused of homicide. Smaller jails tend to mix all types of inmates together. Because of that all jails, except for minimum security worker facilities, of which there are very few, are considered maximum security.
Jails also house convicted offenders who have been sentenced to one year or less. On the other hand, if an offender receives a sentence of more than twelve months, they are sent to a Alaska State Prison, or in the case of someone who is found guilty of a federal offense, to the United States Bureau of Prisons.
Alaska Natives are housed in the same correctional system as other racial and ethnic minorities and Caucasians. They represent over 35% of the prisoners in the 12 prisons and 15 locally operated jails in Alaska. Substance abuse is a major cause of incarceration for the Alaska Native population, with estimates as high as 80%-100% for substance involvement. Native Alaskans are often incarcerated far from their families, when more local and rural facilities have overcrowding. Efforts are underway in the Alaska to work more with tribal courts and recruit Native Alaskans to positions within law enforcement, and to institute more prevention-oriented programs that are culturally sensitive to the needs of Alaska Natives.
As mentioned above, there are a total of 15 jails in Alaska run by the Alaska Department of Corrections. They are part of a system called “unified corrections,” where the state administers the jails, for people being held pre-trial and those who have been sentenced already. There are a few exceptions, most notably where a county or city has extra room in their jail facility and will accept inmates from a neighboring county or city that has run out of room. This is happening more and more, as Alaska is a growing state and like most other areas of the country, crime rates are increasing. Jails that were built 20-30 years ago are no longer capable of maintaining the jail population for their much larger, more crime-ridden communities.
When a neighboring jail facility in Alaska accepts an inmate that is not from their jurisdiction, the receiving jail gets a daily stipend to cover the cost. This can range from approximately $50.00 a day, up to $150.00 or even more.
When the state of Alaska sends an inmate back to the county or city jail to face new criminal charges or to appear before the court for other reasons, the state of Alaska also must pay this daily per diem. The same goes for when an inmate in a local jail is facing charges brought by ICE or the federal government. In those cases, the bill is being paid by the federal government.
There are a total of seven (7) facilities for juvenile detention, all overseen by the Department of Juvenile Justice. These facilities are: Bethel Youth Facility; Fairbanks Youth Facility; Johnson Youth Center; Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility; Mat-Su Youth Facility; and McLaughlin Youth Center. There are roughly 187 beds in these facilities.
Juveniles incarcerated in any of the Alaska detention centers are either awaiting trial for a crime they are accused of committing that is serious enough that the judge has decided they must await trial in a lockup, or they have already been convicted and sentenced and are doing their time.
Juvenile Detention Centers in Alaska are typically as secure as any jail. They also have the resources for the youths to keep up with their schoolwork and to maintain positive relationships with family members who will be there for them upon their release.
Just as with the adult jails on this page and throughout the JailExchange.com website, you can look up any of the juvenile detention centers on this page by clicking on the county, city, or town where the juvenile offender was arrested. The Alaska juvenile facilities listed under that county, city, or town are where you will find the facility and/or the juvenile offender you are seeking.
For a person who has never spent any time in a county jail, just the thought of it can bring on the feeling of fear and anxiety.
Every jail in Alaska is different, and that often has to do with the staff employed there. Correction Officials who maintain a strict but fair environment -- treating inmates with respect, but making it clear that any infraction of the rules will never be tolerated -- tend to have a jail population that is less violent and more orderly.
Officers who play favorites, treating some inmates better than others based upon their race or other factors, and who don’t enforce the jail’s rules consistently, tend to have jails in which the inmates run the facility. That can lead to more violence, contraband such as drugs flowing through, alcoholic beverages being made, food insecurity and a generally poor environment for all.
Alaska inmates that are new to jail life, especially those who have never been in jail or find themselves being locked up for a short period of time, have the most difficulty as they are facing issues that regular jail inmates no longer deal with. As spelled out in these three ( Ever Been Arrested – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) articles about what it is like for someone who gets jailed, there are a range of emotions that all inmates have to deal with, but the most difficult times are definitely reserved for those who are experiencing jail for the first time. As outlined in the articles linked above, these are just a few of things a male or female inmate might be facing:
He is in jail. He is presumed to be guilty. He is frightened of the people around him and fears for his safety. His future is now empty. He is vulnerable. He is cold. He has no glasses and can’t see clearly. He has no cell phone. He has a limited access to call you if you choose to take the call. His job is in jeopardy. The custody of his children is in question. He is hungry. He faces extended jail or prison time.
He is treated with disdain and disgust by the authorities. He is strip searched. He has no privacy. All his comfort foods are not available. The jail food is bland, awful, and limited. He is being challenged physically and mentally by inmates who sense his fear and uncertainty. He has no internet access. He is thirsty. He is worried about his children. He is worried about his family. He is ashamed of what his friends and family think. He has no one to speak with. He has nowhere to go to ask questions about what to expect. He is worried about his apartment or home. He is worried about his pet. He is worried about his girlfriend or spouse. He is worried about his car. He is worried about his personal belongings.
His jail clothes are itchy, uncomfortable and don’t fit. His bed is hard, uncomfortable, and is kept awake by the snoring of others. He must wait for mail every day, hoping he hears from loved ones. He must wait for a visit that may or may not ever come. If he’s an addict; whether it be drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes, he is going through withdrawal. The nights are long as this is when the demons arrive and fill his head with more doubt and fear.
But given how uncomfortable and difficult jail is, because of the recent change in most Alaska jails where special tablets with movies, music, books, educational and entertainment content, video terminals, instant messages, video visits, gift packages that can be shipped in, in some cases local deliveries of hot food, online money deposits and more, jail is becoming much more comfortable and easier to deal with than it once was.
On every one of the jail pages in Alaska, as well as throughout the jailexchange.com website, we provide the information on how you can hook your inmate up with these services from your home computer.
By having access to these jail services, and the fear of losing the right to access these privileges, even the most troublesome and violent inmates now have a reason to not cause trouble and make life easier for themselves, other inmates, and the staff.