AK DOC Today

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

Hiland inmate pleads guilty to charges for distributing fentanyl

U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that an Anchorage woman, who is an inmate at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center (HMCC), pleaded guilty to distributing fentanyl to other inmates while in prison.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted the investigation, with assistance from DOC’s Professional Conduct Unit, which led to the charges in this case.

 

Kodiak event celebrates reentry successes

On March 16, 2018 PO III Jill Bunting and the Kodiak Area Mentor Program (KAMP) teamed up to hold the Second Annual Reentry Recognition Kodiak event at the Roy H. Madsen Justice Center in Kodiak, Alaska.

This year’s program started with Department of Corrections recognizing Threshold Recycling for their partnership in employing one of the speakers as an intern at their facility. Threshold Recycling has been a partner with Department of Corrections for decades as a community work service location. Last year Threshold took their involvement to the next level by employing one of the speakers as an intern and subsequently as a paid employee. Through this work experience, the individual was able to obtain full time employment at a local business. This individual had not previously worked for many years and at the time she started probation, she was not confident in her ability to obtain and maintain employment at all. Through the partnership with Threshold, this individual has returned to the workforce which has enriched her life financially and socially.

Thank you, Threshold Recycling!

Two local employers were also recognized for their partnership in reentry efforts. However, they humbly wished to remain anonymous, expressing the desire to continue to assist this population with no recognition.

Probation Officer Bunting presented their certificates of appreciation to Teresa Slaughter, Executive Director of Kodiak Area Mentor Program, to present to the employers privately.

Before the speakers took the podium, Probation Officer Bunting recognized Teresa Slaughter for her service as Kodiak Area Mentor Program founder and Executive Director. Teresa is leaving the island and her position will be taken over by Jonathan Strong.

Teresa, in partnership with Probation Officer Bunting, founded the Kodiak Area Mentor Program in May 2014. Since then the program has grown into a nonprofit networking organization that assists people through faith-based mentoring relationships in the Kodiak Jail, in the community, and through letter writing to individuals in prison.

Probation Officer Bunting began the next part of the program with an explanation of how this event to recognize reentry successes began in 2017 and how speakers are selected. The genesis of this event arose from a desire to recognize some individuals who, through their hard work and determination, have experienced successful completion of probation and far beyond that goal. This recognition has also proved valuable to the Court, law enforcement, the legal community and others who have interacted with these individuals and been a part of their journey. The qualifications to be a speaker at this event were: successful completion of probation, no criminal matters pending, employment, housing, transportation and living a changed life. Probation Officer Bunting emphasized that although public speaking is not comfortable for everyone, each of the speakers has an important message for the community and this is a skill that can help them communicate this. She explained that the speakers were invited months ago and coached by Kodiak Area Mentor Program mentors and other individuals to polish their speeches and make the most of the short time they had at the podium.

Four speakers told moving stories of how they worked to achieve sobriety and how their experiences have impacted their friends and families. Each speaker was given three minutes to address Judge Steve Cole and the members of the audience that packed the courtroom. They told their stories of recovery and victory over substance abuse. They recognized the people in their lives that helped them in their journey. Each speaker was presented with a Certificate of Achievement by Probation Officer Bunting.

Two of the four speakers have been participants in the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program (TBRA) while on probation supervision and through their success in that program they were able to qualify to receive other program assistance and have their own apartments.

After the speeches were presented the floor was turned over to Judge Cole who spoke to the audience and speakers about how moved he was at hearing each individual’s presentation.   Afterward, a reception was held with cookies, coffee and conversation where members of the audience could talk with the speakers individually and learn more about them.

Popular parenting class at KCC

Parenting classes have been popular at the Ketchikan Correctional Center recently. Good family relationships are an important component of successful reentry. Inmates taking part in the most recent class include (front row, left to right) Karl Seierup, Jeremy Lassiter, Johnathan Jackson, Charles Teal and Robert Fetter. (Back row, left to right) Joshua Cowley, Daniel O’Sullivan, Chaise Peters, Nick Chatham and Adam Williams.

Inmates graduate reentry class in Ketchikan

The Ketchikan Correctional Center continues to work hard to make sure that reentrants can be successful when they return to the community. Graduates of a recent reentry class learned valuable work search, job interviewing, resume and budgeting skills. From left to right, Jordan Joplin, Mathew Martinez, Engle Noble, Jeremy Sheldon and Adam Williams.

Christmas Eve at Mat-Su Pretrial

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 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.