AK DOC Today

News, Events, and Activities in the Alaska Department of Corrections

DOC receives $1 million grant to enhance recidivism reduction efforts

The Department of Corrections (DOC) is pleased to announce that Alaska recently became one of three states awarded the federal Second Chance Grant. This funding will further enhance efforts to reduce the state’s steep recidivism rate and to cultivate stronger and safer communities statewide.

The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs and Bureau of Justice Assistance, allocates $1 million over the course of two years to Alaska’s correctional system. Utah and Delaware are also recipients.

“We are thrilled about the opportunities we now have to enhance reentry department-wide,” DOC Deputy Commissioner of Transitional Services Karen Cann said. “Reentry really begins the day an offender walks through the doors of one of our facilities. For the Department of Corrections to truly correct behavior, we must have well-trained staff, offer programming, teach job skills, and provide behavior health services. And when offenders are getting ready to release, we must have a system in place that connects reentrants to community resources capable of assisting in that often-challenging transition.”

DOC has been developing a strategic reentry plan with statewide community partners since 2017, when the department was awarded the $100,000 Second Chance Act Statewide Adult Recidivism Reduction Strategic Planning Program grant. This summer, the plan was submitted to DOJ for their consideration to allocate DOC the additional implementation funding. Alaska DOC accepted the Second Chance Grant on October 4, 2018.

As detailed in the strategic plan, funding will be used for training, programming, case planning tools, direct services, peer support in and out of our institutions, modifications to the Alaska Correctional Offender Management System, as well as to pay the wages of the required grant manager and research partner.

“This plan is really dependent on communication and coordination, not just within DOC but with our communities,” DOC Reentry Program Manager Morgen Jaco explained. “There needs to be communication with offenders about their needs and goals, between line staff and superintendents, and between probation officers and community partners. The goal is for every incarcerated person to have one case plan – disseminated out to all relevant parties, so everyone knows that person’s requirements, the programming they’re enrolled in, and the services they need.”

Alaska has a recidivism rate of 66.41 percent, with two-thirds of those individuals returning to custody within the first six months. The state defines recidivism as any return to custody within the first three years of release.

Lowering the re-offense rate by using evidence-based practices will have wide-reaching impacts that will improve public safety across the state.

Op-ed: Kindness for children with an incarcerated parent

From the Juneau Empire: “Lemon Creek Correctional Center recently implemented a program called New Chapter, to support loving communication between incarcerated parents and their children. Incarcerated parents can record a video of themselves reading a book, poem or letter to send to their child. Because of the size of Alaska, children may be located too far from their incarcerated parent to be able to visit in person.”

Read more: https://www.juneauempire.com/life/kindness-for-children-with-an-incarcerated-parent/

State plan could put prisoners to work in Unalaska seafood plants

“If local officials agree, prisoners can finish their sentences working in seafood plants in Unalaska, according to a plan presented by Alaska Department of Corrections Commissioner Dean Williams at a recent Unalaska City Council meeting, attended by many generally supportive community members,” the Bristol Bay Times/Dutch Harbor Fisherman reported.

Read the story, here: https://www.adn.com/business-economy/2018/10/08/state-plan-could-put-prisoners-to-work-in-unalaska-seafood-plants/

19 Suboxone strips confiscated by GCCC staff

Goose Creek Correctional Center staff discovered 19 Suboxone strips in an envelope while processing inmate mail last week. Our diligent staff noticed pages of the mail stuck together, and as they worked to separate them, found several orange squares mostly covered in white paint, approximately one inch in size, glued to the pages.

Alaska Department of Corrections‘ staff work around the clock to keep drugs and other contraband out of our facilities. Once drugs are discovered, they’re turned over to the department’s Professional Conduct Unit (PCU).

PCU builds cases and works with other law enforcement entities — like the FBI – Federal Bureau of InvestigationAlaska State Troopers (Official) and the Drug Enforcement Administration — to go after drug traffickers.

This work and collaboration is critical to building a Safer Alaska.

#SaferAlaska #StrongerAlaska #MyAKGov

Lemon Creek COs complete investigator course

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Congratulations to the 21 Lemon Creek Correctional officers who recently attended and became certified Institutional Investigators.

The two day, 16-hour Institutional Investigator class was designed to provide correctional officers investigative guidelines, knowledge, and skills in order to affect prosecutable criminal cases and to assist Alaska State Troopers and DOC Investigators to properly preserve, document, and investigate crimes within DOC institutions.

Besides a written examination, investigators had to develop a plan to properly preserve and document the scene, and properly seize all of the potential evidence.

Some of the feedback from the students included:

“Best class I have taken in 10 years.”

“Very engaging. Kept the topic interesting and the class never became boring.”

“Loved this class!”

“Very interactive. Working through the tough cases was very informative.”

Instructors will be continuing visiting institutions around the state in order to help even more officers learn investigative techniques.

Fairbanks CO receives Life Saving Award

Fairbanks Correctional Officer II Raymond Newsome was recently awarded the department’s Life Saving Award for Exceptionally Meritorious Service saving the life of a prisoner during a suicide attempt at Fairbanks Correctional Center on July 25, 2018.

Officer Newsome’s rapid response and dedication to duty was abundantly clear after he discovered an inmate unresponsive in his cell. Multiple correctional officers and staff ultimately responded to the module to render aid to the prisoner. During this time, it was found that Officer Newsome demonstrated efficient and purposeful attempts to save the prisoner’s life.

He called for emergency medical responders, then continued to perform cardio pulmonary resuscitation until medical arrived on scene. As a nurse prepared to begin CPR, she noticed that the prisoner was breathing and had a pulse.

The expedient work and efforts by Officer Newsome directly affected a positive outcome. Officer Newsom’s calm demeanor, swift actions and willingness to immediately provide care during this medical emergency likely prevented the death of the prisoner. This is testament to Officer Newsome’s professionalism, dedication and commitment to public service.

Correctional Officer II Newsome’s outstanding performance of duty is in good keeping with the finest traditions of the Alaska Department of Corrections and reflects great credit upon himself, the Department and the State of Alaska.


DOC releases August drug seizure report

Our correctional officers work diligently everyday to keep drugs and other contraband out of our facilities. When drugs are discovered, our Professional Conduct Unit works with other law enforcement entities to build cases that go after traffickers.

Thank you to all of our COs and PCU investigators for helping to build a Safer Alaska.

#MyAKGov #SaferAlaska


Watch: HMCC inmates decorate Teddy Bears for Salvation Army fundraiser

Some of the ladies from the Hiland Mountain Correctional Facility put their artistic talent to work to help support the The Salvation Army Alaska Division.

This weekend, the nonprofit will hold the Teddy Bear Tea event — all of the proceeds benefit local Salvation Army programs.

Learn more about the event, here: https://alaska.salvationarmy.org/…/e…/teddy-bear-tea-2018-1/

Watch the story: http://www.ktuu.com/video/?vid=492968291


Community in Unity at Anvil Mountain: Building connections

From Alaska Public Media: “How are people from rural Alaska connecting with their communities and their cultures while in prison, and preparing for what’s next? What could change to help prevent people from coming to prison in the first place?

This public conversation was recorded inside Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome, Alaska on Aug. 29, 2018, with inmates, staff and other community members.”

Listen to the conversation by clicking, here: https://www.alaskapublic.org/2018/09/07/community-in-unity-building-connections/

Listen to more Community in Unity conversations: