Behind the Landscape on Alaska's Politics & Culture


December 8, 2012

Frontier Justice in the Last Frontier: A Stain on Alaska


A letter to the State of Alaska from the victim’s families across the country:

Letter to Alaska (Click to read)



he sentiments of the victim’s families in this letter are what most would express. The family’s frustration of not knowing more about their loved ones death will never have finale. The families of the unresolved cases across the country may not be possibly known if Keyes was involved for many years to come.

Israel Keyes was still able to kill while he was in Alaska’s Department of Corrections (DOC) “Townhouse” jail. He killed himself. We put him in jail and we still could not contain him from his demented mind. The “Fox” outsmarted his jailers and they allowed him to continue his wave of deception.

It is not the job of the DOC to convict our people of crimes and allow them to execute themselves without a jury of their peers. The State had the means, motive and opportunity to commit the case of negligent homicide.

The beliefs by many Alaskans in this State for those who die or get hurt in jail deserve it. Ask why a DUI offender locked up in the “Townhouse” jail should kill himself jumping over a two-story railing in full view of other inmates and guards. Are there the elements of means and opportunity?

Our “Townhouse” jail is a pre-trial facility, supposedly a secure holding place to allow for the completion of justice. Prison is the long-term institution for those convicted of serious crimes. For those that believe in vigilantism justice, self-inflicted or by another in a pre-trial facility is disingenuous and naïve to the purpose of our justice system.

Alaska has the highest suicide rate in the nation and Keyes death in the custody of the DOC on Dec 2nd helped validate that statistic, as Alaska also has the highest incarceration rate in the nation.

Alaska DOC Division Director of Institutions Bryan Brandenburg stated in the Keyes case;

…I think the Department of Corrections does a really good job for screening people who are potentially suicidal and following up on folks who have presented as wanting to hurt themselves and unfortunately that we still have suicides that occur.

Keyes was on suicide watch in the beginning of his incarceration most likely after his attempted courtroom escape. Unfortunately failure to follow-up was not practiced.

The mismanagement and mishandling of serious issues like safety, security and mental health of inmates within the pre-trial facility and small private holding half-way institutions has not been dealt with.

The Alaska DOC has the power and the responsibility to protect all those in jail. At this point, it seems the DOC introduced the razor blades to Keyes and failed to retrieve them back in what would be a clear violation of common sense jailhouse rules. But, the DOC is stifled in an environment from lazy and inept management. According to some sources lock-down and health and welfare check procedures are almost non-existent in segregation units at the jail.

The job of the State public union employees working in the DOC is to protect the life of their prisoners from themselves and the public. The Alaska DOC failed from top to bottom.

AK INSIDER has it that only the single Correctional Officer on duty during that faithful night will suffer consequences from a system of negligent management and cronyism.

The State, its Governor and Legislators will immune the DOC at the Anchorage “Townhouse” Jail. Furthermore, the State’s public safety unions will help undermine this for all of us. Then Keyes death will validate, without serious action, the favoritism to friends without regard for their qualifications, by appointing them to managerial and political positions is in the Alaska justice system.

Alaskans must have full faith and confidence in our system of justice and make ways to improve our environment.

The key heroes in the Keyes case are the officers and detectives of the Alaska law enforcement community; the FBI; and the resolve of the Koenig family and friends that can take great pride in having the resolve to find Samantha and capture the offender and stopping his butchery.

About the Author

Chief Editor
Paul Bauer has served in various positions on Anchorage community boards, commissions and councils in and out of elected office with over a decade of business management experience after serving 22 years of national service. His background includes living in and visiting many diverse communities around the United States, Europe with small excursions to the Pacific that had him working with culturally diverse groups of people most of his life. As an Assembly Member he was one Member that voted against Mayor Mark Begich's costly budget increase; the largest spending budgets in the city's history; raising awareness to get a public discussion on illegal immigration in the city and removing the city's "Sanctuary City" status; bringing public awareness of the Mayor's lavish spending and his conflict of interest with his family's gift shop on the “E Street” road improvement project.


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