Federal enforcement of a local subsistence fishery closure on the Kuskokwim River and tributaries became a major news event in Bethel. When the federal enforcement agency seized 79 salmon, they approached the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center and offered the fish, which needed immediate processing and freezing. YKCC accepted the fish and an inmate work crew filed and packaged the fish for freezing. YKCC then turned over the processed fish to a pair of local organizations for distribution to elders and others with need. The Tundra Women’s Coalition accepted two totes of filets while the Eddie Hoffman Senior Center – which also serves as a local food bank – accepted three totes of the frozen filets. Both agencies accepted a single tote of frozen fish heads, which will be used to make a rich soup considered a local delicacy.
AK DOC Today
News, Events, and Activities in the Alaska Department of Corrections
Alaska prison inmates have widely contributed to community give-back programs this holiday season; here is a list:
Wildwood Correctional Centers, Kenai –
- Inmate clubs donated $1,000 to the Salvation Army
- Inmates crocheted over 100 hats to be given away at a local elementary school and Veteran’s Clinic.
- Inmates participated in a Christmas Wreath program to benefit the local senior center
- Minimum Facility prisoners handcrafted 500 wooden toys for the holiday season. Spenard Builders Supply in Wasilla donated the wood for the fifth year.
- Medium Facility handcrafted and donated 2800 hats, 150 blankets, and 150 scarves. All of the materials used for the projects are purchased from the profits generated by the PCC Medium Club Sales Store. This year we had over 200 participants in the program, and the prisoners designed their own unique patterns.
These handcrafted wooden toys and crochet gifts were donated to the following local community organizations: Alaska Family Services, Palmer Food Bank, Claire House, AWAIC, Wasilla Food Pantry, Mother Lawrence Foundation, Akeela House, Stepping Stone, McKinnel House, Children’s Place, The Giving Tree, Special Santa Program, Providence Children’s Hospital and Anchorage and Mat Valley Salvation Army.
Lemon Creek Correctional Center, Juneau –
- In December, eight carvings from the Hobby Shop were donated to the Salvation Army to be used for silent auction fund raisers.
- Blankets, baby bags and hats from the Craft Shop were donated to Salvation Army for inclusion in the Christmas gift bags donated to needy families.
- 33-baby blankets were donated to the Juneau Birthing Center for donation to the new infants and twelve bed quilts were donated to the Pioneer Home for the senior citizen residents.
- The Multi-Culture Club donated over $500 to the Juneau Youth Football League in December.
Point Mackenzie Correctional Farm, Wasilla –
- PMCF participated in the 2012 Toys for Tots Drive: Prisoner Hobby Craft workers produced 36 jewelry boxes, 113 toy cars, and 164 puzzles all items were handcrafted from scrap wood donated by local Wasilla vendors.
Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, Eagle River –
- Give-back efforts at HMCF are extensive. This year inmates at the facility adopted the villages of Port Lions and Anvik, filling a wall of the gymnasium with hand-made and purchased gifts and supplies for these communities; tin all the inmates raised $7,500 for this project through two clubs. The clubs also covered some of the cost of shipping 719 pounds of items. Also provided were the cost of ‘thank-you’ gifts to the airlines which donated some of the freight charges (ERA and Island Air).
- Inmates raised $5,345 for gifts for two unnamed families through the Salvation Army’s “adopt-a-family program. One family had five members, the other four.
- HMCC inmates hand-made 100 quilts, 50 hats and 50 scarves for the Palmer Police Department’s “Santa Cop” program. The value of the quilts was placed at $10,000 in materials and machine usage.
- HMCC inmates donated 50 scarves to the Special Olympics.
- HMCC inmates provided 100 knitted hats to Providence Hospital’s Children’s Cancer Unit, and 40 hand-made pillows for the breast cancer treatment unit.
After six weeks, ten inmates at Wildwood Correctional Center’s minimum camp have completed a crochet project with a goal of giving back to the community. In six weeks, the inmates have made over 90 hats and mittens to be donated to local elementary schools through a community organization. The program is modeled after one at the Palmer Correctional Center. Inmates complete three projects for charity and a fourth one can be sent home to their family. The crochet program started with 5 inmates and at the end of six weeks, at least ten inmates are being taught the basics of crocheting by an inmate teacher.
“We have some big ideas”, says Assistant Superintendent Shannon McCloud. “We answered a radio announcement from one of the local elementary schools for the need of warm weather gear and the inmates got busy and made 50 hats. I just dropped them off last week and they were very much appreciated. Next, we hope to donate to a Veteran’s organization and eventually make items for Hospice of Alaska. This is a way that we can have these guys give back to our communities.
The program is sustained by donated yarn, said superintendent Bob Hibpshman, who also sees the program as a way to keep inmates busy and out of trouble. “What a wonderful way to help these guys learn a new skill and help others in the process. One thing that is needed to make this program a success is yarn. We have been taking donations from the Salvation Army and private donors, we hope this program can continue and grow in the future.”
Hiland Mountain Correctional Center is continuing a collaboration between its Construction Trades vocational training program and Habitat for Humanity in Anchorage. The inmates shown in this slide show are working at one Anchorage build site as the construction season drifts into fall.
“Because of their hard work and enthusiasm, Habitat for Humanity has requested continued assistance from HMCC through the entire build season, which runs through March 2012,” said Superintendent Dean Marshall.
The HMCC Native Council Club and the Inmate Council donated $800 to purchase thirty-eight (38) coats for the Helping Us Give School Supplies (HUGSS) program. HUGGS is aprogram sponsored by Lutheran Social Services of Alaska. This particular project benefited underprivileged children returning to school this fall.
A group of inmates from Hiland Mountain Correctional Center have been assisting the Habitat For Humanity Organization with seven building projects in Anchorage. A portion of the group is comprised of women who have completed the Constructions Trades curriculum through the HMCC Inmate Education program. Because of their hard work and enthusiasm, Habitat for Humanity has asked that this collaboration renew through the entire build season, which runs through March 2012. The slide show below shows the work in progress.
A volunteer community work service crew of eight inmates from Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River spent a day cleaning and beautifying the front, side and back yards at Clare House in Anchorage. Clare House is an emergency homeless shelter for women with children and expectant mothers. The HMCC Inmate Council and Native Culture Clubs purchased tools, soil, seed, and plants for the spring cleanup project. In all, inmates raised and donated $1694.00 plus labor.
Inmate volunteers from the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center collected over 1600 pounds of trash along the Glenn Highway in early May. The facility has formally agreed to adopt the section of highway between the South and North Birchwood exits. This section encompasses approximately 3.4 miles of road; it covers the median and both sides of the highway. A crew will be out at least one day per week until the entire area has been cleared of trash. After the initial cleaning, the crew will revisit the area periodically throughout the summer.
The road crews one part of the prison’s community work service commitments for this summer. Inmate volunteers will be cleaning trails at Mirror Lake, Schoeder Park and Peters Creek Parks and will perform maintenance and cleaning at Clare House and for Habitat for Humanity.
When planning its annual “Homeless Connect” event, the Anchorage Coalition on Homelessness put out a call for a donation of 700 scarves to give out at its outreach event. “Homeless Connect” takes place Wednesday, Jan. 26 at the Egan Center and will offer a range of services to help homeless people move toward a more stable life.
The Anchorage Coalition on Homelessness asked for Hiland Mountain Correctional Center’s help with making and donating scarfs. Hiland Mountain Correctional Center had several prisoners volunteer their time and effort during the months of December and January. The inmate volunteers met their goal and then some, delivering 801 scarves to the coalition for its Wednesday event.
Homeless Connect offers people the opportunity to have their vision checked, apply for subsidized housing, get an Identification card, receive warm clothing, and much more.