AK DOC Today

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

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.

Prisoner Work Crew Assists Big Lake Lions with Rec Center Repairs

Sgt. Mark Olson escorted six inmates from Goose Creek Correctional Center via Point Mackenzie Correctional Farm to the Big Lake Lions Recreation Center to assist in getting the facility ready for the upcoming hockey and community ice-skating season. The men removed stains and polished the dasher boards and Plexiglas, cleaned and organized ice skates, swept and mopped, and picked up trash. The men enjoyed getting out of their normal routine to perform this service benefitting the community of Big Lake. The work crew service was performed Oct. 10-15.

Vocational Education Graduation Held at Goose Creek

Goose Creek Correctional Center held its inaugural Vocational Education graduation ceremony recognizing 70 inmates for their academic accomplishments. Graduation is an event that symbolizes both effort and achievement. The event, held September 24th, was an opportunity for the graduates to celebrate their achievements with friends and family. Local unions and labor organizations were invited as well. The event was a huge success thanks to the hard work put forth by students, Education Coordinators and Correctional Staff. Deputy Commissioner Ronald Taylor was the keynote speaker. Director Bryan Brandenberg and CJP Gary Olsen also addressed the graduates. The ceremony included a catered lunch prepared by the Culinary Arts Program participants. Due to the great weather, guests could mingle outside with their family and the students got a chance to meet possible future employers. Goose Creek is dedicated to providing rehabilitative programs that are likely to reduce recidivism.

— Education Coordinator Terrence Glaze

Barber School Opens at Goose Creek Correctional Center

Goose Creek Correctional Center has opened a Barber School. The goal of the program is to provide a career education to prisoners with a long-term goal of reducing recidivism in Alaska. Classes will be instructed by an inmate who is a licensed barber instructor, having earned his barber’s license while incarcerated. The program provides apprenticeship for five inmates per class. The inmate-instructor played an intricate role in the process and organization of the barber school. The program will encourage inmates to demonstrate their work ethic and motivation to succeed upon release. The curriculum is 16-18 months, which includes hands on training, lecture, and book testing. The Barber School will offer staff haircuts. By becoming a barber, the inmates are choosing a career that is a credible job choice. Barbers have the ability to be their own boss, set their own schedules, and with enough ambition, they can make above average wages. One of the main goals for DOC is to offer reformative programming that will likely reduce recidivism. Becoming a barber is a creative way for an inmate to transition back into society and play a positive role in the community. The excitement and expectations for the program are high.