AK DOC Today

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

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.

Goose Creek Hosts Prisoners, Family at Summer Festival

Photo of Goose Creek prisoners participating in Inupiaq drumming

Goose Creek prisoners participate in Inupiaq drumming

On June 14, 2014, Goose Creek Correctional Center held its first community event. Approved inmates were able to invite up to two guests. We had barbequed hamburgers and hotdogs, potato salad and beans. Community speakers and inmate entertainment rounded out the day’s events. Assistant Superintendent of Operations Kevin Horton introduced Superintendent John Conant, who gave a warm welcome. LSSAT coordinator Vicki Nisonger-Maack shared information on how LSSAT graduates become mentors. Shirley Lee from the Tanana Chief’s Conference got the crowd going and was followed by inmate Inupiaq drumming and dancing performers. The audience participated in the dancing. Community leader and former Arizona Cardinals NFL star Mao Tosi presented his amazing life journey to the crowd. The inmate Asian Pacific Islanders singing group performed some songs afterward. The speaking events were completed by Reverend Donald Jones of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Anchorage. The speakers were encouraging and inspirational. The event was well received. Both visitors and inmates enjoyed the picnic atmosphere and are looking forward to the next festival in the fall.

— Superintendent John Conant

Goose Creek Graduates 31 in Construction Core Course

Photo of first GCCC NCCER graduating class

GCCC NCCER graduating class

On March 7th, 2014, Goose Creek Correctional Center (G.C.C.C.) graduated its first NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) Core class. There were 31 inmates who earned their credentials. Present was Superintendent John Conant, NCCER training sponsor from the Construction Education Foundation Mandy Beaulieu, Criminal Justice Planner for Education Gary Olsen, probation and correctional officers and the vocational staff. The Core Course is the gateway training for graduates to obtain basic construction knowledge and safety concepts. Once they have graduated this course, it opens up opportunities to take specific trade training. During the ceremony Mr. Conant spoke to the assembly about his experiences with construction and his support for training in the construction field.

There are two N.C.C.E.R. trade specific programs in progress at G.C.C.C. – Electrical and HVAC/R (heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration). They are mostly populated with inmates who had already earned their N.C.C.E.R Core credentials elsewhere. More programs are scheduled to begin shortly. NCCER meets and/or exceeds most U.S. Department of Labor training requirements. It is used in various apprenticeship training programs, in technical colleges, and vocational schools. It is a standard for many large national companies and industrial education programs. The credentials are nationally portable and verifiable. The G.C.C.C. education/vocational department has been busy with many short-term and intermediate training projects in other disciplines but this represents the first long term, nationally credentialed construction training curriculum to be implemented at this facility . Construction is an important industry to Alaska and many employment opportunities are available when an offender re-enters the community. Evidence based practices prove education and training are likely to reduce recidivism. The N.C.C.E.R. curriculum at Goose Creek also enhances the Department’s mission and vision of providing reformative programs.

— Voc Ed Coordinator Tim Flannery

Goose Creek, Mat-Su Borough Shelter Launch Cell Dog Program

Goose Creek Correctional Center has inaugurated a Cell Dog program. The first class includes six dogs working with 15 inmate volunteers. Each dog is assigned 2-3 handlers who take turns being the primary handler. As handlers, inmates learn a variety of training techniques all based on the use of positive reinforcement. Many of the dogs at GCCC have been at the shelter for a while and you can see the joy come back to them as they are socialized and able to get out and exercise at the facility. Each dog will stay here for 8-10 weeks were they will learn a variety of things to make it more suitable for adoption such as how to walk on leash, sit, stay, and come to its handler. The dogs are also kennel trained and spend the nights in their kennels which are located in their primary handler’s room. The goal of the program is to find as many dogs homes as possible and to also give the inmates something to do which is positive while serving their time. If anyone is interested in adopting any of the dogs they can contact the Matsu Bureau Animal Shelter at (907) 746-5500.

About the dogs:

  • Faith is a brindle and white colored pit bull. She can sit, stay, fetch and heel. She also has been trained to go into her kennel on command. Faith is one year and four months old. She is very friendly and affectionate. Faith needs a loving home and will be a great addition to any household.
  • Carley is very playful and smart dog. She is half black lab and half golden retriever. Carley likes to play and would be a good dog with kids and active people. She is very young and lovable. She needs lots of attention. She is a quick learner and has a lot of potential.
  • Mac is a one year old black lab. He is very personable and eager to please. He knows how to sit, lay down, and wait. He loves to play fetch and run and play. Mac would be a great family dog.
  • Sadie is a 9 month old German Shepard and lab mix. She loves to play and is full of energy. She is very affectionate and loves to get attention. She can follow basic commands.
  • Tank is a ten month old male malamute/pit bull mix. He is kennel trained and has been learning basic commands. He has a lot of energy and enjoys retrieving tennis balls. Tank would be a good dog for an active person.
  • Annabelle is a 3 year old golden lab with lots of energy. She is very friendly and very obedient. She can sit, laydown, heal, stay and more all with one command. Annabelle also knows hand signals. Annabelle is very smart and is a fast learner.

A Message from Commissioner Joe Schmidt: Today Alaska is Housing Its Own Prisoners

GCCCl

Goose Creek Correctional Center

In June 2009, after a brief groundbreaking ceremony, construction began on 435,000-square foot, $240 million Goose Creek Correctional Center. Four years and three months later close to 1,200 of the facility’s 1,536 beds are filled. Thanks to dedicated teamwork on the part of correctional facilities statewide and the hard work of Superintendent Amy Rabeau and her staff, a successful ramp-up of Goose Creek Correctional Center has occurred. Challenges arose and were addressed effectively with no single event causing a delay.

In 2006 there were close to 1,000 Alaska prisoners housed out-of-state. Today Alaska is housing its own prisoners while the 300-350 employees hired to maintain their incarceration are Alaskans. This successful ramp-up presented the challenge of airlifting and ground-transporting close to 1,100 prisoners from Hudson, Colorado to a range of correctional facilities in Alaska, from Seward to Point Mackenzie. This occurred without a hitch, and included the transfer of prisoner property as well as state-owned equipment and records. Likewise recruitment efforts provided record numbers of qualified applicants. Today, 277 Alaskans are employed at Goose Creek in a variety of functions from security to education, medical, food service, maintenance and administration.
In returning its prisoners to Alaska, the department will be in a better position to promote successful reentry while providing secure confinement/. Prisoners will be, in many cases, more connected to family and support systems. Over 200 prisoners at Goose Creek are already participating in education and vocational programming and an intensive substance abuse treatment program.

— Commissioner Joe Schmidt

Goose Creek Correctional Center Earns BUILDINGS Magazine’s ABBY Award

ABBY Award

The Department of Corrections is proud to announce that BUILDINGS magazine has selected the Goose Creek Correction Center as a 2013 ABBY Award winner. The project, which earned a Merit Award (2nd) for New Construction, exemplifies innovative performance standards in commercial building design and operation. Now in its 8th year, the America’s Best Buildings of the Year (ABBY) Awards highlight projects that set a new benchmark for facility managers to emulate. Goose Creek Correctional Center is part of an elite group of nine buildings that will be showcased in the magazine’s October 2013 issue. Submitted profiles were evaluated by the BUILDINGS editorial staff for the latest innovations in areas such as energy efficiency, sustainability, forward-looking design, purposeful renovation, and streamlined management. “Goose Creek demonstrates how smart building controls and software can streamline energy efficiency, sustainability, and O&M practices,” says Jennie Morton, associate editor for BUILDINGS magazine.