Leslie Houston’s last day as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Corrections was Monday, June 30. Her six-year term with the department was celebrated by her JCO coworkers and Commissioner Joe Schmidt. Since joining the department in May 2008, Leslie has been in a leadership role for a number of key department milestones including:
- Increase in AK Grown purchasing by 127 percent; assisted Alaska farmers as well as providing the freshest possible produce to the incarcerated population.
- Stabilized relationships with rural communities by addressing their concerns.
- Built the multi-year operating and capital projects to support the opening of Goose Creek Correctional Center from the soft ramp-up to full operations; successfully secured full funding from the legislature.
- Regarding the DOC operating budget and capital budget, changed long-standing philosophies and made necessary internal adjustments resulting in not having to seek supplemental appropriations from the Legislature.
- Successfully secured funding to support new boilers and equipment to continue the Alaska Marine Highway Laundry Service.
- Guided data collection and reporting in all areas.
- Established a high level of credibility and trust across communities, the legislature, and DOC staff.
Houston had particular praise for the department’s administrative staff. “Nothing could have been accomplished without strong section chiefs. This has been a team effort. It takes a great team.”
Houston moves to the Department of Health and Social Services where she will be a division director.
— Richard Schmitz