AK DOC Today

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

The 2017 Veterans Performance Incentive Award goes to…

Congratulations to DOC criminal justice planner for educational programing Gary Olsen. On Friday, he was awarded the 2017 Veterans Performance Incentive Award (VPIA) for all his hard work connecting veterans, coming through the correctional system, to the reentry employment services that help them be successful in our communities.

Mr. Olsen worked with our DOC staff to help identify veterans upon intake, tracked the information, and used it to notify the Alaska Job Center of veterans who are about to be released.

Mr. Olsen was honored at the annual Veterans and Military Spouses Job Fair on November 18, 2017.

Understanding the value of family

Successful re-entry back for offenders includes more than finding a job or a place to stay, it also involves reconnecting with family and children. In parenting classes at the Ketchikan Correctional Center (KCC), inmates learn how to reconnect with their families, and they learn  valuable techniques to deal with discipline, encouragement and support.

In the photo below, Richard Wilson, Brian Ojeda and Jordan Joplin display their certificates after successfully completing the parenting class at KCC.

After 56 years, Pastor Bill White retires

After 56 years working in prison ministries, Pastor Bill White has retired. This milestone is well-deserved, and we thank him from the bottom of our hearts for all that he’s done.

White, 84, was born in Tennessee. At 17, in 1950, he was called to the ministry. One year later, and until 1956, he served as a missionary in Palmer. There, he helped build the Church of God.

He met his wife, Margaret, while in Florida. The two tied the knot on June 8, 1957. Together, the newlyweds moved to Ketchikan, arriving on June 7, 1960. The Whites celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this past summer.

When Pastor White was just starting off in Ketchikan, he converted a two-bedroom warehouse, with about 20 members. More than five decades later, about 120 people attend his church.

All the while, Pastor White has been involved with prison ministries, and has spent decades ministering at the Ketchikan Correctional Center. He has been instrumental in raising up several other prison workers from his church, the Lighthouse Church of God, as well as encouraging and integrating other workers from the local Christian community. One of his members, Bruce Brown, has been conducting weekly Bible studies for over 40 years. Bruce came to know Christ through Pastor White’s ministry in Ketchikan in 1976.

At present there are several believers in the Ketchikan jail. Many who were saved in jail under Pastor White’s ministry are now active members of the Lighthouse Church of God or serving in other local churches in Ketchikan and across the nation.

There is no limit to Pastor White’s outreach. Pastor White gives love, respect and personal attention to inmates, and those who’ve been written off. Some of these inmates get few visitors, one being Pastor White on a regular basis.

Pastor White received the Chaplain Of The Year Award for 2005 from the Alaska State Chaplaincy Office. He has also received special recognition from the Church of God Prison Ministry Dept. Margaret was inducted into the Church of God International “Hall of Christian Excellence” for her service and ministry with Pastor White in Ketchikan.

Pastor White’s last official day was September 23, but he will remain as a religious provider.

Shortly before Pastor’s White’s retirement, Governor Walker penned him a congratulatory letter, which said: “Your heart of service has been clearly demonstrated as you filled a crucial role that included weekly ministry, being on call for death notifications, and recruiting and training volunteers, in addition to scheduling and leading services.

In addition to your service at KCC, your commitment to the community in Ketchikan is commendable. From the development of the Coal Bay Camp and Retreat, to the outreach work with the Ketchikan Ministerial Association, you have served Southeast Alaska well. The fruits of your labor and the legacy you have created will live on in your family, and in the people you have touched. Your steadfastness in service has set a positive example for future generations that will continue on in your retirement.”

Governor Walker, we couldn’t have said it any better.

Thank you, Pastor White. We’ll forever be grateful for your time, love, teachings, spirit, and dedication to you work.

Pretrial partners with Cordova and Eyak

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.

Mat-Su Pretrial staff honored at Palmer Elks Lodge banquet

On October 21, 2017, the following Mat-Su Pretrial (MSPT) staff were honored at the annual Palmer Elks Lodge Law, Order and Safety Banquet.

Officer Les McMichael was awarded MSPT Officer of the Year.

Les McMichael started with the Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC) in 1996 at the Spring Creek Correctional Center (SCCC). In 1999, he transferred to Cook Inlet Pretrial (CIPT). In 2008, he transferred to Mat-Su Pretrial.

Lt. Jan Jenski had this to say about Ofc. Les McMichael: “It is not the badges or the uniforms that maintain the stability in a facility such as MSPT, it is Officers like Les McMichael. Les has earned a reputation for being approachable, being kind and listening to people.”

SSgt. Ken Roediger was awarded MSPT Sergeant of the Year.

Ken Roediger started with DOC in 2004 at SCCC. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2014 at MSPT and became a shift supervisor.

SSgt. Roediger is an excellent leader, trainer and mentor. He treats the prisoners with respect.

One of his officers stated the following: “He is patient when it comes to everything that he does, from training Officers to dealing with inmates. The public, inmates and officers are safe when he is on shift.”

Nurse II Alex Miroshnick was awarded MSPT Medical Staff Member of the Year.

Alex started with DOC in 2000 at CIPT. He transferred to ACC in 2011 and ACO in 2013, where he worked for five months as a relief nurse.

In September 2013, Alex transferred to MSPT.

Alex is one of the most caring and compassionate people you can come across. He deals with emergencies with confidence and a calm demeanor. He treats the prisoner population with compassion, professionalism and consistency.

Each one of these staff members are an important part of the team here at MSPT. We are thankful we get to work with such talented and dedicated staff.

You are an asset to MSPT and the Department of Corrections. Thank you for all you do!

— Acting Superintendent Sheri Olsen

Fairbanks COs awarded first Commissioner’s Awards

Three Fairbanks correctional officers received the first ever Commissioner’s Awards last week.

On June 19, 2017, Staff Sergeant Mark Benoit, and Officers James Beaudreault and Daniel Welch worked together to coordinate surveillance efforts and report a suspicious vehicle and suspect on the Fairbanks Correctional Center’s premises to local law enforcement.

This information greatly assisted law enforcement’s pursuit of an armed suspect located in the wood line surrounding the facility.
Through the direction of Staff Sergeant Benoit to his officers and timely communication with local law enforcement the incident was brought to a safe conclusion.

Thank you for your dedicated service to this state.

 

Commissioner Williams visits Southwest fish processing plant, explores possibilities

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.

Koda: A busy dog

This is Koda. He’s been working his tail off for the people of Alaska. He might be officially team DOC, but he’s been assisting other law enforcement agencies to help keep drugs out of our communities. In just the last six weeks, he’s discovered 2,043 grams, or 4.5 pounds, of methamphetamine and 20 grams of heroin.

Who’s a good boy?!