AK DOC Today

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

DOC Goose Creek Barber School

<p<cutting for success one head at a time, check out this story on Goose Creek Correctional's Barber School that's teaching inmates skills and giving them hands on training to become licensed professionals when they get out.

It’s one of many amazing programs that lowers recidivism in Alaska.

Two recent graduates who were released had some of the highest scores ever on the State of Alaska exam and now work at two barber shops in Anchorage.

Congratulations to the Graduates of the Goose Creek Correctional Mental Health Offender Program

Congratulations to the graduates of the Goose Creek Correctional Mental Health 48 Week Offender Program! This challenging program at Goose Creek begins with the standard SAMHSA 12 week anger management class and then adds an additional 36 weeks of cognitive behavioral curriculum. These 36 weeks include an interactive journaling program geared toward recognizing criminal thinking, encouraging responsible behavior and contributing to the community. The class meets weekly for 48 sessions however usually takes over a year to complete. The program calls for honest self-exploration, practicing pro-social behavior and willingness to expand personal comfort zones. At the completion of the program, graduates are required to develop a summary of personal insights gained through the course and present this to the class and staff. There are approximately nine or ten 48 Week Offender classes running at any given time at Goose Creek. The graduating class in the included photo was ran by MHCII Becky Scales.

Goose Creek Congratulates Employee of the Year, Kristen Nunley

Goose Creek Correctional Center’s Employee of the Year for 2015 is Kristen Nunley. For those of you who may not know, Kristen is our Office Assistant II over payroll. Kristen started at GCCC on February 8, 2013 in her current position. Kristen makes this huge job look easy day in and day out. Kristen always comes to work with a positive attitude and a happy demeanor. Anyone familiar with Kristen knows that she brightens up any room with her smile and laugh. Please congratulate Kristen when you see her for this well-earned honor. Congratulations Kristen!

Goose Creek Barber School Successes

Earlier this month on a clear Sunday morning, four inmates entered a salon in Wasilla, Alaska, wearing yellow jump suits and iron leg chains. They left in the same attire. The only difference was now they could say they are professional barbers.

The Barber School is a journey that started over a year and a half ago at Goose Creek Correctional Center. It has proven to be a vehicle to success for inmates Adam Barger, John Samuelson, Jariss Black, and Terral Wright. They passed their written and practical application tests with extremely high scores.

The Board of Barbers & Hairdressers Chairwoman, Glenda Ledford, stated the Goose Creek barbers were a higher level of student than normal. So much so, that all three examiners agreed they would hire any of the students immediately. “That’s when I knew the program was working,” said Sergio Colgan, the Alaska licensed inmate barber instructor at Goose Creek.

The inmate-instructor played an intricate role in starting and organizing the barber school. Inmate Colgan models a disciplined work and study environment and encourages participants to demonstrate their work ethic and motivation to succeed upon release.

The curriculum was 18 months, which included hands on training, lecture, and book testing; all while conducting general population haircuts, Monday through Friday, mornings and afternoons for over 700 fellow inmates. By becoming a barber, the men are choosing a career that is a credible job choice. Barbers have the ability to be their own boss, set their own schedules, and with enough ambition, make above average wages.

One of the main goals for DOC is to offer reformative programming that will likely reduce recidivism. Goose Creek is off to great start in this endeavor and has already started their second group of student barbers. Becoming a barber is a creative way for future returning citizens to transition back into society and be a positive role model in the community.

“I’m happy to see these guys succeed. I want them to be better than the average barber walking the street; they have to be better,” said Colgan.

2015 Goose Creek Christmas Concert

The third annual 2015 Christmas concert at Goose Creek was part of a tradition that started back in 2012 at Hudson Correctional Facility in Hudson, Colorado. Chaplain Bernard Browder started the peer-driven choral ensemble, which was formed in July 2012. In December 2012, the group performed for peers and staff in a successful Christmas concert.

Over the next year, when the Colorado group was transitioned back to Alaska, the new Goose Creek Singers emerged. The majority of their members arrived in May 2013. They recruited some new members and in December 2013, they provided an outstanding performance in the first Christmas concert at Goose Creek.

With the help of staff and volunteers in 2014, the orchestra began, a guitar class was formed and a piano class started. The orchestra was directed by Mr. Michael More and Mrs. Coralyn More. The Mores, who are professional musicians, volunteered to help the members of the orchestra develop their sound and group dynamic. Ms. Liz Melson was contracted to teach beginning piano. The program was very successful and has continued to provide men an opportunity to learn a new skill. Goose Creek now has beginning, intermediate and advanced piano classes. The guitar class was self-directed and would eventually contribute to the entertainment of a future concert. Each year more men sign up to be a part of these talented groups and the 2015 Christmas concert proved they only get better with practice and opportunity to demonstrate their skills.

The orchestra, choir, piano and guitar ensembles performed some traditional and popular seasonal classics in the December 2015 Christmas concerts. They entertained their peers in the gym in two performances with over 300 men in attendance and a smaller group of invited family and friends in visitation. The participants were appreciative of the opportunities to perform and the guests were delighted with the concerts. Goose Creek looks forward to more successful performances this year.

Mat-Su Special Santa Program

The Mat-Su Special Santa Program works to bring families in need of the Matanuska Susitna Valley the magic of Christmas for children newborn to 18 years of age. They have been serving the Mat-Su Valley since 1997 and are headquartered in Palmer. They provide toys, winter wear, toiletries, bedding and other much needed items to children in need.

The program is headed by Mari Jo Parks, CEO (Chief Elf Organizer). The program began in 1997 with a few volunteers and 90 children. In 2014, the Mat-Su Special Santa Program brought the magic of Christmas to over 3500 children from 1223 families. The Special Santa Program is a 501 (c)(3), under the umbrella of Alaska Family Services, a non-profit that provides services for women, children and their families. They are the Toys for Tots distributor for the Mat-Su Valley. Families are referred to them through programs they coordinate with including local food banks, agencies that assist families in need, schools, churches, the foster care program, Salvation Army, and other programs offering assistance at Christmas.

Mrs. Claus was on hand to accept the toys for the Mat-Su Special Santa Program. She had a great time. Mrs. Claus expressed her thanks to Goose Creek for taking some of the load off Santa and his elves this year. She is looking forward to seeing all the projects for next year as well.

The inmates worked on the toys for approximately 3 months. The workers expressed great interest in keeping this program running throughout the coming year. We have had several positive responses from the inmate workers and staff. Making toys for the Mat-Su Special Santa Program provides a positive and uplifting environment at Goose Creek and provides a special avenue for the workers to give back to our community.

GCCC Road Crew

The GCCC Road crew continue to clear cut Point Mackenzie Road. This ongoing cooperation between GCCC and the Mat Su Borough to help make a safer passage for moose and the commuters, has given the prisoner at Point Mackenzie Correctional Center a chance to give back to the community. A hearty thank you to the Borough for allowing us this opportunity to give back to this worthwhile cause.

Employee of the Month at Goose Creek Correctional Center

We would like to take a moment and congratulate Maintenance Specialist Brian Campbell as the November Employee of the month. Mr. Campbell has worked since 1996 at the Correctional farm and is crucial to all farming and facility maintenance that is conducted there. Along with his normal duties he routinely drops tasks to complete things such as plaque requests from the director’s office and emergent repairs on farming equipment. Mr. Campbell is vital to the operations at the farm and GCCC as a whole.

He started at PMCF and has been there ever since. He has made plaques for retirees for the department and has made the DOC shield for some of the offices. He has been to many of the other facilities completing welding project at those institutions. While doing all of this he keeps the farming equipment running and the farm building maintained. He wears many hats to complete the tasks given to him and he is aware of the budgetary requirements by researching the best prices for the material that is necessary to complete the project.

Congratulations to Brian Campbell, Employee of the Month at Goose Creek Correctional Center!