AK DOC Today

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

FCC Celebrates Correctional Officers, Nurses Week

On May 6, Fairbanks Correctional Center staff celebrated Correctional Officer week along with Nurses week. Conveniently both weeks fell on the same days this year. As it was the beginning of May (Cinco de Mayo) we had a taco and burrito bar set up for all to enjoy. It was a great time for the staff to come together and appreciate each other and the difficult jobs we do every day. The food was amazing and a great time was had by all.

— Superintendent Tamara Axelsson

Victims for Justice Honors Anchorage Probation Unit

Probation Officer Eileen Farrar and the Anchorage Probation Office Mental Health and Sex Offender Unity have been honored by Victims for Justice at their annual Awards Banquet, May 3rd, at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage. Probation Officer Farrar was presented with the Victims for Justice Advocacy Award and was described as being “a spitfire advocate for victims.” Victims for Justice also presented a service award to the unit as a whole. The APO Mental Health and Sex Offender Unit consists of POs Farar, Dwayne Hanson, Molly Fortunato, Shamika Lawrence, Jen Mariscal, Sava Nevzuroff, Jeff Norris, Katie Perry, Chris McKenzie and Scott Vukich.

Probation Staff Connects Bad Tattoo with Good Artist for Parolee’s Best Interest

Recently Anchorage Parole Officer Lana Grist was able to convince a parolee on her caseload to cover up a tattoo he had obtained while in custody. The tattoo was on the offender’s neck and it said “Kill Cops.” Many discussions had occurred between parolee Mikel Sawyer and PO Grist regarding the tattoo not being pro-social and a detriment to his future success. Finally, Parolee Sawyer agreed and the decision was made to have it covered up. This was easier said than done, however. Tattooing is expensive and it takes extra talent to be able to cover up another tattoo. PO Grist turned to another parolee, Jeremy Wright, also on her caseload who, by all accounts was an extraordinary tattoo artist. She was able to convince him to find a place to do the work, design the tattoo and complete the cover up at no cost. It took a full day’s worth of work but the task was completed. PO Grist went way above and beyond helping this parolee and in the process involved the second parolee in a situation where he could give back to the community. Hopefully this will lead to future success for both of them.

— Probation Officer III Rob Carlson

DOC Participates in Police Memorial, Arrival of Honor Flag

On Friday, May 9th the annual Police Memorial Day ceremony took place in Anchorage. Sixty-five names have been placed on the memorial outside the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory. A bell was tolled each time a name was read representing each fallen officer. The memorial was very moving with Amazing Grace being played with bagpipes, a 21 gun salute, and Taps preformed at the end. It was a beautiful day and hundreds arrived to show their respects. Earlier, FCC Sgt. Daniel Colang participated in ceremonies marking the arrival of the U.S. Honor Flag in Fairbanks.

Procurement Specialist Mindy Bugayong Retires after 30 Years

The Juneau Central Office held a retirement potluck lunch in honor of Procurement Specialist Mindy Bugayong. Mindy worked for the department for the past 10 years following 20 years at the Department of Transportation. Mindy wrapped up her career by providing key assistance in moving the JCO from the Douglas Island Building to temporary quarters at the Bill Ray Center. Mindy’s position has been taken over by Frank Reyes.

Correctional Officers ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’

On Saturday April 26th, Officers from the Alaska Department of Corrections participated in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault, and gender violence. All eight Correctional Officers donned a pair of high heels for this opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes and effects of sexualized violence. Organized by ACC Correctional Officer Tommy Quinlan, $1,100 was raised to donate to this worthy cause.

Participating were: Officers Tommy Quinlan, Adam Rocheleau, Andrew Busch, Ryan Krieger, Sandi Smith; Chris Harrington; and Justin Clawson, all from ACC, and Officer Bret Wrigglesworth from Goose Creek.

— Lt. Rebecca Cowart-Wilkerson

Correctional Officer Academy No. 123 Graduates Class of 37

Photo of Correctional Officer Academy #123

Correctional Officer Academy #123

A class of 37 Correctional Officers representing eight institutions graduated from Alaska Department of Corrections Academy #123 on April 11. In this Academy there were nine women and 28 men. The students spent six weeks learning the Policies and Procedures of the department, effective communication, shotgun training, Taser training, One-On-One Control Techniques, cultural awareness and various other curriculum. Officers attending this Academy include 13 military veterans and four officers who have relatives currently working for the Department. Congratulations to the Correctional Officers of Class #123.

— Lt. Scott Dial

Lemon Creek Holds Annual Success Inside & Out Conference

Photo of Education Coordinator Paul McCarthy and banner designer Anne Marie Morris

Education Coordinator Paul McCarthy and banner designer Anne Marie Morris

The sixth annual Success Inside & Out conference was a day-long event sponsored by the Alaska Court System in collaboration with Lemon Creek Correctional Center and local halfway house Gastineau Human Services. The conference featured information, entertainment, and inspiration to help sentenced inmates releasing within two years to make it on the outside after releasing from prison. There were talks, music and singing, and the ever popular fashion show featuring how to dress for a job interview …and now NOT to dress. There was a panel of former inmates (called “How to Stop the Revolving Door,” moderated by head community PO Brett Wilson), and eight panel sessions. The panels focused on: addiction treatment and mental health options; exploring life’s necessities #1: housing, food, and medical services; exploring life’s necessities #2: legal and banking services; personal fitness and strength training; employment and education opportunities in Juneau; reconnecting to one’s spiritual self; healthy relationships and reconnecting to family; and last but not least, success on probation and parole.

— Education Coordinator Paul McCarthy

DOC Dental, Medical Staff Volunteer for Mission of Mercy

The Alaska Dental Society hosted its first MISSION of MERCY (MOM) event at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage mid-April utilizing 100 portable dental units and 1,332 volunteers including Department of Corrections Chief Dental Officer Michale Boothe and Dental Hygienist Laurel Pfanmiller-Azegami. Mental Health Clinicians Cortney Hansen and Marian Lilley also participated and helped with registration and organization of the event. The emphasis was on basic dental care such as fillings, extractions and cleanings. Limited lab work was also offered. Dr. Boothe served as team leader of the “post-op” section while Laurel worked in the “Kids Town” and providing local anesthesia. Originating in Virginia and spreading throughout the United States, more than 70 MOM dental programs have been conducted since 2000 to provide free dental care to local residents who otherwise would be unable to receive such care. The MOM event focused on: providing free access to dental care while placing a high priority on patients suffering from dental infections or pain, raising public awareness of the increasing difficulty low income adults and children face in accessing critical dental care and creating health care advocates via the hundreds of lay volunteers participating in the event.

— Laura Brooks