AK DOC Today

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

Ketchikan Correctional Center’s Origami Cranes

Using origami and a children’s novel, inmates at Ketchikan Correctional Center have inspired themselves and others by creating thousands of cranes.

No not the real birds, but 3,000 of the paper kind that is part of an annual program where more than 40 inmates compete in May and June to see which ward can make 1,000 of them first.

The origami cranes are then presented to three local organizations who use them to help their clients experience peace and to deal with life issues.

KCC Superintendent Jessica Mathews says the cranes which are made out of donated magazines are also helping the inmates who get to see that they are making a difference in their community.

Mathews calls the process therapeutic because what you do to one side, you do the other.

This year the nonprofit Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep who helps with bereavement with families who experience baby deaths, Post 3 of the American Legion who works with elderly and disabled veterans, and the female empowerment group, Girls on the Run all accepted the cranes from participants.

The Ketchikan Pioneer Home, Peace Health Ketchikan Medical Center, Women in Safe Homes, and the families and friends of Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich, who were killed in 2014 in Tanana all, have received cranes in the past three years.

The program is inspired by the character of Sadako Sasaki who is featured in the children’s novel “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” by Eleanor Coerr. Sadako is a two-year-old girl who survives the 1945 atomic bomb attack on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. As a 12-year-old, Sadako learns she has leukemia as a result of the radiation and is given months to live. While hospitalized, Sadako is inspired by a Japanese legend to make 1,000 paper cranes in order to be granted a wish — the wish for peace and life, according to Mathews.

And with inmates using phrases like having balance, being humble, and doing something good for someone else, it looks like the cranes is creating peace inside and out KCC.

Awesome job Ketchikan Correctional Center! We appreciate you!

Photos courtesy of Taylor Balkom, Ketchikan Daily News.

Anvil Mountain Correctional Center Handles Emergency Smoothly

Check out this awesome message from the Superintendent from Anvil Mountain Correctional Center:

“On July 29th an inmate from Anvil Mountain Correctional Center was transported to Nortson Sound Regional Hospital by ambulance, then medivac’d to Anchorage with an escort for medical treatment from DOC prisoner transport staff.

This shift Sgt. Parra, Officer Ozenna, Officer O’Connor, Officer Tobuk, Nurse Polk-Grubb and responding Officers Tesar and PTO Hickerson handled this inmate medical emergency smoothly, safely and with a level of professionalism that was above and beyond.

These types of emergencies are not frequent, however, when they occur, it makes me proud to know that these professionals assisted in another’s safety and quality of life.

These are the unsung stories that the media never hears about!

This is also something that is unique to being a rural Alaskan correctional officer!”

Sandra Martinson
Superintendent, Anvil Mountain Correctional Center

PO Zener Saving Lives on Kenai River

Going over and beyond the call of duty, Wildwood Correctional Complex Probation Officer Mike Zener was recognized recently by the Kenai Police Department for helping to save lives in the Kenai River after a boat capsized. Check out the letter of commendation written about him.

Thank you PO Zener! We appreciate you!

The full text of the Letter of Commendation is available here.