AK DOC Today

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

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.

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!

Families in Transition Project

Goose Creek Correctional Center is proud to team up with Families in Transition to assist disadvantaged youth in the community. Over the past few months Goose Creek inmates have been knitting, excuse me “crocheting” sets of mittens and hats to donate to the Families in Transition project. Inmates Derek Berry and Mark Anderson volunteered to help teach novice crocheters the art of crocheting. Altogether the guys were able to crochet over 50 sets of hats and mittens of assorted size, style, and color. The inmates enjoyed the activity stating, “In a way it’s kind of therapeutic, plus, it always feels good to help out when you can.” Great job Goose Creek!

Goose Creek Administrative Segregation Step-Down Program Graduates Four

Photo of four GCCC Ad Seg Step-Down Program graduates

Pictured (from L-R): Vic Solano, Ed Coordinator; PO Dan Traxinger, UT Manager; Timothy Mund, Michael Berg, Karl Vandenhurk, Richard Watkinson; Carol Hedler, MH II; PO Jessica Sanchez and Supt. John Conant.

The Step-Down program is a creative pathway for inmates in Administrative Segregation (AS-10) to learn and practice positive behavior through cognitive, educational, and psychological programming with the opportunity to progress to lower security classifications. It was started in December 2013 with nine inmate participants and was headed up by GCCC Unit Team Manager POIII Dan Traxinger. Other team members include a Mental Health Clinician, Probation Officer, Segregation Sergeant, Education Coordinator and Unit Team Advisors (officers). The AS-10 step-down is a volunteer program that requires a 12-14 month commitment from the inmate. GCCC is very pleased with the time and effort staff and the prisoners have contributed to the success of this program, and would like to congratulate the 4 graduates on their achievement.

Goose Creek Hosts Security Threat Group Training

Photo of Security Threat Group training class

On February 28, 2015, Goose Creek Correctional Center hosted the Alaska State Troopers and Wasilla Police Department for Security Threat Group Training. The 4 hour class was taught by Officers Webb and Hartley of the GCCC Security Department. The 19 officers who participated in the training learned about Alaska specific gangs. Subjects discussed included tattoo identification, membership requirements, and gang structures. The training was well received and another class is being planned for more officers and Troopers to attend.

Goose Creek Superintendent Honored For Decade of Service

Photo of John Conant receiving his certificate from Dean Marshall

Acting Director of Institutions Dean Marshall, left, presents a certificate to Goose Creek Correctional Center Superintendent John Conant honoring him for ten years of service. Conant promoted from Assistant Superintendent in February, 2014. Conant promoted to Lieutenant in July, 2012 and was named Assistant Superintendent in July 2103. Please congratulate Superintendent Conant for a decade of dedication to the Department of Corrections.

GCCC Inmates Create Coloring Books for Toys for Tots Campaign

Goose Creek Correctional Center is pleased with the efforts given by the inmates that contributed to the annual Toys for Tots campaign. This year 11 inmates did an exceptional job making 150 jumbo sized coloring books. The inmates took great pride in the time and effort they gave to this project. The coloring books were 11 x 17 inches and consist of hand-drawn pictures of animals, boats, trucks, dragons, airplanes and well known characters. The books ended up under an appreciative child’s tree in time for Christmas. GCCC is proud to support such a great organization.

— Superintendent John Conant

Goose Creek Staff Gives Boost to Agency Serving Homeless Youth

Throughout December, Goose Creek Correction Center set up a collection bin for donations of new and pre-packaged socks, underwear and gloves for Families in Transition, a Homeless Student Liaison Agency for the Mat Su Borough School District. The agency is tasked with removing barriers homeless children have to attending school. Lack of socks, underwear and gloves is just one barrier. Goose Creek staff generously donated over 12 30-gallon bags filled with new socks, underwear, and gloves for valley school children pre-K through 12th grade. The agency has close to 800 homeless students to serve this year and Goose Creek is proud to participate in their mission of advocating for homeless school children.

— Superintendent John Conant

GCCC Prisoners Help With Willow Cemetery Clean Up

Photo of volunteer inmate work crew from GCCC

R-L, top row, Sgt. Josh Kleven, I/M Meehan, Robert; I/M Mathews, Ronald, I/M Traphagen, Anthony; bottom row, I/M Hutson, John and I/M Saddler, Thomas

This fall, a volunteer inmate work crew helped clear out the Waldrons Pond Memorial Park Cemetery in Willow. Willow Chamber of Commerce President Jim Huston wrote the following to GCCC Superintendent John Conant: “On behalf of the Willow Chamber of Commerce and the Waldrons Pond Memorial Park Directors, I would like to thank the Department of Corrections and the Pt. Mackenzie inmate crew for their volunteer help with our project. It was rewarding to work alongside the inmates who were so cheerful and productive on the project no matter what the weather conditions. With their help we were able to accomplish more than we thought we would be able to do this summer.” The clean-up will resume in the Spring.