On Christmas Eve, Chaplain Steve Alexander and his three sons Josiah, Seth and Levi stopped by MSPT to spread some Christmas cheer to our prisoner population. We went to each mod and sang Christmas Carols, read the Christmas story, prayed with the prisoners and gave out Christmas goodie bags. The prisoners received a Christmas bag filled with candy, a Christian track and a handwritten Christmas note from Mrs. Helen Riley. They also received a bag of specially made Christmas cookies provided by the MSPT Kitchen staff. A great time was had by all and it truly lifted the spirits of the prisoner population!
The Cordova Police Department, the Native Village of Eyak and the Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC) are officially collaborating to ensure public safety and enforcement of individuals who’ll be placed on pretrial supervision, following the launch of the department’s Pretrial Enforcement Division in January 2018.
On Wednesday, November 1, 2017, DOC stood side-by-side city officials, and Eyak tribal leaders for the signing of the community’s jail contract. The contract is increasing by $19,401 to help supplement the Cordova Police Department in their efforts to assist DOC’s Pretrial Enforcement Division with assessments, the monitoring of individuals placed on pretrial supervision, and diversion programs.
“The agreement with Cordova is particularly exciting because the Pretrial Enforcement Division is partnering with the Cordova Police Department and the Native Village of Eyak,” Pretrial Enforcement Division Director Geri Fox said. “Defendants who are on pretrial release will now have someone from the Cordova Police Department staff who will check on the individual if they’re released on bail pending trial.”
Cordova will also be expanding substance abuse treatment options in the community and the Cordova Police Department will be partnering with treatment providers to help connect defendants to substance abuse treatment.
“This is a unique model that clearly puts the badge behind treatment,” Fox said. “The goal is to not only assist with early intervention, but then to also hold individuals accountable if they fail to follow through with the conditions of release ordered by the court.”
Communities everywhere reap greater benefits when state and local agencies can work together. For DOC and its pretrial division, partnering with law enforcement across Alaska was a natural and logical step. Partnerships with local law enforcement agencies will help identify and solve local challenges, as well as it will help ensure that this new criminal justice function supports the department’s public safety priorities, and helps build a stronger and safer Alaska.
Cordova is the second community to partner with the state in this effort, however others are expected to officially join in coming weeks. Conversations to explore possible partnerships with other Alaska communities are ongoing.
Earlier this week, Commissioner Dean Williams had the opportunity to visit a fish processing plant in Ekuk, just outside of Dillingham, with the facility’s owner, Jerry Hall, and PO Rexford Spofford. Commissioner Williams is exploring the idea of allowing inmates, near the end of their sentence, an opportunity to work at the camp during the fishing season.
Employment remains an important strategy to reduce the high recidivism rate of returning citizens.