AK DOC Today

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

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:

Meet COIV Gail Smithhiser: How the DOC crew got their start in public service

This is Gail Smithhiser, a COIV at Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome. She’s been with the Department of Corrections since 2006, when she started as a CO I. But before that she was crowned Miss Arctic Native Brotherhood 2001. The same year, she was sent to participate in the Miss World Eskimo Indian Olympics in Fairbanks.

“Although I did not place, it was an amazing opportunity to show my public speaking and leadership abilities,” Smithhisler said.

Turns out, it runs in the family. He mother was crowned Miss Arctic Native Brotherhood in 1973 and her aunt was also crowned in 1975. (How cool is that?!)

When she began her career with us, she liked the idea of a week on, week off schedule. But after more than a decade, she says her appreciation for the job is much deeper than that.

“Once employed, I found that I enjoyed working with people and making sure that, at the end of the day, everyone was safe prior to being able to go home. What appealed to me about my current position was the challenge of working on difficult time accounting records and maintaining the Records department to ensure we were in compliance with Policy & Procedure and statute. I enjoy what I do and love the feeling of successfully overcoming difficult challenges with my position.”

So what has been her greatest lesson about public service?

“From my time working on shift, I was able to interact with many different people among our facility’s population. From that, I learned the importance of treating people with humanity. That didn’t mean being a sympathizer or giving people pity; it meant treating everyone with humaneness and using empathy to create a safer environment and atmosphere. Those of us in DOC are constantly observed by our populations and therefore, we have the greatest opportunity to demonstrate appropriate behavior in all types of situations. I learned that that meant talking with people, discussing making healthier and better life choices, acknowledging that the change they want to make is difficult but attainable, and making sure they knew how to be held accountable for their actions, just as I’m held accountable for mine. This type of public service is not for everyone, but you have a great opportunity to make a difference with very few chances of receiving acknowledgment or kudos.”

Thank you for your service Officer Smithhiser. Your service to Alaskans is invaluable, and we’re proud to call you one of ours!

Are you a DOC employee interested in sharing your public service story? If so, email public information officer Megan Edge at megan.edge@alaska.gov.

Community in Unity heads to Nome

In the next installment of Community in Unity, Alaska Public Media is heading to the Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome. What will we be talking about? The importance of community connections.

Being incarcerated is hard. So is being released. How are people in prison connecting with their communities and preparing for what’s next? What’s happening outside of prisons to help make the transition more successful for everyone in the community?
Join us for a conversation inside Anvil Mountain Correctional Center with inmates, staff, and other community members to learn about life inside the prison walls and ways to help people succeed on the outside.
The moderated community conversation will be held in the prison’s gym. Light refreshments will be provided.
Please bring a photo ID, and be prepared to check your belongings before going through security.

Community in Unity is Alaska Public Media’s community dialogue series. So far, the program has traveled to the Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward, the Fairbanks Correctional Center, and the Goose Creek Correctional Center in Mat-Su.

We hope to see you there.

When: Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. The conversation begins at 1 p.m. and will last an hour. It will be recorded for broadcast.


Anvil Mountain inmates receive Hazwoper certification

Inmates at Anvil Mountain Correctional Center gathered
during the week of June 12
th to certify in a Hazwoper training
course. The topics covered included, Hazwoper regulations, safety and
health plans, hazardous chemicals, safety hazards, air monitoring, medical
surveillance, site control, decontamination, personal protective equipment, and
respiratory equipment.

“I loved this class. It took my mind off of things to be out
of the quad, and I learned a lot about handling hazardous materials,” said
inmate Ransom Bradley.

In addition to a newly acquired skillset, the course also
offered inmates a hopeful outlook for when they release from custody.

Inmate Vincent Matthias, of Stebbins, said, “Classes like
this give me a positive outlook for when I get out…that I have something that I
can do other than use alcohol and drugs.”

Inmate Kenneth Smith of Nome plans to bring the
knowledge he learned in the course to his community. He said, “Knowing exactly
how I can protect the

environment and the people of my community means a lot to

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Correctional Officers Week 2017: Anvil Mountain Correctional Center

Celebrating Correctional Officer Week with Alaska Department of Corrections Correctional Officers statewide.

Today we feature Anvil Mountain Correctional Center Correctional Officers who received Alaska Governor Bill Walker’s official proclamation from Commissioner Dean Williams.

Thank you for your service, dedication, and committment to making our institutions safe and secure for inmates and staff.

We appreciate you!

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Nome Correctional Officers Teaching Carpentry

Officer Charles Derek Franklin works with inmates at Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in the absence of an education coordinator, teaching basic carpentry skills.

Officer Franklin does an awesome job in accomplishing projects, ensuring inmate and staff safety and passing skills on to others.

Officer Franklin and Officer Robert Grubb are special projects rovers. These two officers are an asset to our facility and help broaden inmate skill sets. Keep up the good work!

Anvil Mountain Substance Abuse Program Graduates

Attached are the graduates from the Anvil Mountain Correctional Center Psych-Educational Substance Abuse Program (Psych-Ed) Level (.5).

The program has a cognitive behavioral focus with a minimum participation of six (6) weeks, 1.5 hours twice per week.

This is the second group of inmates to graduate from the program, the total currently being 74 graduates