AK DOC Today

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

GCCC hosts Peer to Peer Recovery Presentation

Goose Creek’s ReEntry Program had the opportunity to host a Peer to Peer Presentation with local agencies and the McShin Foundation coming together to share a common theme of “Hope” when trying to overcome substance abuse. John Shinholser, the President of the McShin Foundation, shared his mission of delivering hope to recovering addicts and alcoholics along their journey to a healthier life. He brought along Kara Nelson from the Haven House and the Juneau ReEntry Coalition, Christina Love from Juneau’s Aware Shelter, and Donteh Devoe from Cook Inlet Tribal Council’s recovery services.

All four presenters took turns sharing the lows of an addictive past through the turmoil of change. This change included overcoming guilt, shame, fear, and finding self-worth. They explained that the journey is not easy, but with an open mind and a spiritual awakening, sobriety is possible. They no longer feared success and owned their own choices, getting to a point where substance abuse was no longer consuming their lives. Kara spoke of the anger she once had and realization that the little things matter if you want a positive future. Christina shared how she once felt happiness could be bought and sadness covered up. Donteh expressed how family can play a huge role in the direction we take and his desire to change his legacy. Finally, John shared his years in the military and the challenges he had to face and overcome to get his life on track.

In the end, they all discussed the accomplishments they have achieved and how bright their futures look. How baby steps can lead one on a journey never imagined and feel happier and content on this path then any amount of drugs or alcohol could ever take them. The presentation left many with a feeling of optimism that they too can successfully return to their communities and join together to make a difference in other returning citizen’s lives.

PCC Minimum Community Care Program

The inmates at Minimum Facility of Palmer Correctional Center are proud to announce the competition of a major contribution to the facility’s Community Care Program. This past week, they finished 1000 wooden toys to be given to needy children, just in time for the holidays!

The inmates proposed to crochet stuffed animals to be given out to the charitable organizations and currently have completed 183 animals.

PCC Medium Community Care Program

From left to right
Jeff Martin, David Sander, Albert Echolt, Acting Asst. Super. Olsen, Edward Newman, Acting Lt. Wood, Michael Zavacky, Alan Johnson, John Osborne Jr, Superintendent Anderson, Benjamin Schroeder, Joshua Mead, Newton Lindoff, Tim Jean, Martin Komok, Sgt. Hauser, Ofc. Canada

PCC Medium Community Care Program

PCC inmates have funded and participated for the ninth consecutive year in a crochet program that allows the inmates to give back to the community. All of the materials used for the projects are purchased from the profits generated by the PCC Medium Club Sales Store. This year at PCC we had 200 participants in the program. The inmates create their own unique patterns which is clearly apparent in their designs. It is the mission of Palmer Correctional Center to aid the inmates incarcerated to return to the community as healthy, productive and responsible members of their communities.

2015 Completed Community Care Project Totals:
Hats: 3500
Blankets: 400
Scarves: 800

PCC Medium Community Care Program

Left to right standing: Joseph Minock, Ralph Aveganna, Timothy Queripel, Ryan Cox, Travis Heintzman, Dale Ohler, John Kohler, Harry Elewis, Aaron Lochridge, Thomas Hopson, Robert Tanape, Michael Schreider, Eddie John, Vincent Karmun, Heath Olin, Tommy Davis, Robert Bane, Larry Brown II, Chris Parker, Sean Aubrey, Andrew Nelson, Raymond Arkell, Ah Limchantha, and Vaituu Motuga.
Middle kneeling left to right: Michael Linn, and Chris Jordan.

Front from left to right sitting and kneeling: Anthony Papa, Steve Wright, John Michael Knauss, Jeffery King, Timothy Russell, and Jeremiah Avessuk.

New Path High School

New Path High School, located within the Anchorage Correctional Complex and Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, has had a great 2015. Our students have the opportunity to use their time while incarcerated constructively, and to earn a high school diploma from the Anchorage School District. We’ve awarded diplomas to 28 students this year, and have provided services to over 120 inmates. In addition to making progress academically, our students plan for life after incarceration, and discover strengths and interests that they may not have known they had.

Here’s what one of our recent graduates (shown in the picture), of whom we are extremely proud of, had to say about the program: “New Path is a great program that can be very effective if you take advantage of it. I never thought that I would graduate because I was so far behind on credits, but with a lot of effort, I got my diploma. The teachers were very encouraging and very helpful. Now I have a better chance at achieving my goal of a career in carpentry. My chances of being accepted into AVTEC are a lot higher than they were before. This program has given me a better and brighter future. I can’t thank the staff enough.”

The New Path High School staff would like to thank the Department of Corrections for their continued support of what we feel is an important and beneficial program. We’re looking forward to another great year.

2015 New Path High School Graduate

2015 New Path High School Graduate

PCC Share Campaign Potatoes & Medium Ham & Turkey Donation

On November 20th, 2015, the Palmer Correctional Center and Acting Director Marshall partnered together to purchase one ton of potatoes from the Share Campaign Silent Auction to donate to various charitable organizations within our communities. On December 3rd, the Medium Facility prisoners donated 8 turkeys and 8 hams to the Palmer Food Bank.

On December 3, 2015, the following organizations were the recipients of 50 pound bags of potatoes:

Alaska Family Services – 1 bag
Palmer Food Bank – 4 bags
My House – 1 bag
Salvation Army – 10 bags

On December 15, 2015, PCC will deliver the following 50 pound bags of potatoes to:

New Life Development – 2 bags
McKinnel House – 6 bags
Stepping Stone – 3 bags
Mother Lawrence – 1 bag
Frontline Mission – 4 bags
Pioneer Home – 4 bags
Palmer Senior Citizen Center – 4 bags

Total potatoes donated was forty 50lbs bags = 1 ton! Happy Holidays from Palmer Correctional Center!

COs Russell and Hauser with the potato harvest

Left to right: Officer Russell & Sergeant Hauser.

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.

Volunteers Bring Christmas to Anchorage Correctional Center

Superintendent Jesse Self of Anchorage Correctional Complex is pleased to share how a small Christmas party for the females housed at ACC that was sponsored by Big Lake Independent Baptist Church in which Mrs. Mosley is a dedicated volunteer for the female church services. The Alaska Department of Corrections is fortunate to have such dedicated volunteers.

ACC Christmas Party

Superintended Self, Bonny Mosley and Chaplain Gerald Silliman at ACC Christmas Party.

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!

A Thank You from Probation Officer Kelly Marre

Dear DOC employees & co-workers.
It has now been 14 months since I was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. From the very beginning of the announcement about my diagnoses, I was overwhelmed by the support of all of you. People I don’t even know personally donated leave hours, sent cards & gifts, and messages of encouragement and prayers. I never imagined I would be blessed by so many people I work with in the Department of Corrections. There are so many special people to thank, but I most certainly must think my immediate supervisor Josh Mercer, his former supervisor, Billy Houser, all of my EM Unit co-workers, and all the different departments in DOC. Monica in payroll was a huge help as was Suzan with ASEA. Jim Kalak earnestly advocated for my union benefits and helped coordinate leave. I know GCCC Superintendent, John Conant was also a huge support. Honestly I just can’t remember everyone who was instrumental in helping me get through this ordeal and keep my job. If I forgot to mention your name it’s not because I don’t appreciate you. So many people donated leave for me so I could maintain my necessary medical insurance. Jan Jenski organized a blood drive in my honor and Mindy Hardin organized a bone marrow drive. Many DOC employees donated items and participated in the fundraising dinner and auction held to help with my many medical expenses. It’s just super amazing and I am grateful to each and every one of you very generous and wonderful people. Every time my doctors would let me come home for a week I would work. My job is not just a job. I love working for DOC. I am now almost seven months post-transplant and am working six hours per day. I soon will be back to 7.5. I feel stronger every day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My family sends their gratitude as well.

— Kelly Marre