AK DOC Today

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

Hiland Mountain Orchestra Public Concert December 13

Photo of volunteer inmate work crew from GCCC

This year’s annual Hiland Mountain Women’s String Orchestra Holiday Concert, sponsored by Arts on the Edge, is Saturday, December 13 starting at 1:30 pm. Tickets, $30 each, must be purchased online. Here is the link (Alaska Center for the Performing Arts):  http://alaskapac.centertix.net/eventperformances.asp?evt=1413. No tickets will be sold past noon Friday, December 12. This year’s featured guest artists are Low & Lower which consist of bassist Paul Sharpe and cellist Brooks Whitehouse. Sharpe grew up in Alaska and performs frequently with the Anchorage Symphony. The concert runs 30 minutes without intermission. Ticket holders should be at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center no later than 1 pm Saturday to pick up their tickets. No one under age 12 is admitted.

Job Training Program Puts Prisoners Behind (Re)bars

On September 12th, seven Hiland Mountain Correctional Center students graduated from the apprentice training located in Anchorage. Jennifer Backus graduated as an indentured apprentice and was immediately put to work at a Local 751 Ironworker project. Local 751’s apprenticeship two week training consisted of: OSHA 10 and Forklift / Aerial lift, North Slope Training Certifications, Welding and Oxy-acetylene cutting and reinforcing concrete training.

“This project was one of the most rewarding experiences,” said CJP Gary Olsen. “It was true ‘community involvement.’ I didn’t know anything about the tasks an ironworker performs. Then Anthony (Local 751 Program Coordinator Anthony Ladd) explained the career and the rewards for its laborers. The work is physically demanding but you feel really connected to the community when you have built a building that everyone can use, such as a school or hospital. This process gave me more confidence the public respects what the Department is doing to reduce recidivism.”

The Department’s education planner led the collaborative effort, which included Ladd, Paul Carr from the Alaska Ironworkers local 751, and the Department of Labor. Funding was provided by the Department of Labor’s grant process for State Training and Employment Program (STEP). The purpose of STEP is to enhance the quality and make Alaska job training and employment assistance easily available to employers, employees, and future workers. The State Training and Employment Program is administered by the Alaska Department of Labor’s Division of Business Partnerships and funded by a set-aside from the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

The Ironworkers’ two-week program was designed to introduce participants to the trade. Ladd’s goal was to recruit and train professional Ironworkers who could perform above and beyond the industry standards. After the initial 2 week apprentice training, local 751 hoped to place qualified applicants into the apprenticeship program granted they meet all requirements.

Hiland Mountain Prisoners Raise Funds for Senior Center

On June 25th the women of Hiland Mountain Correctional Center ran and walked around the track, shot basketballs, ran three legged races and had fun participating in other activities, all in the rain. The occasion was the Third Annual “Olympics” to raise money for the Chugiak/Eagle River Senior Center. The month before the event the participants of the Transformational Living Community (TLC) program collected pledges from the inmates and after all was said and done $1,158.51 was donated and the Native Cultural Council added $500 more for a total of $1658.51. On July 8th representatives from the senior center came to Hiland to accept a check and for the first time women from Hiland were able to go to the senior center to visit with the seniors and present the funds. All funds raised are used by the center to help seniors who are in financial need.

Corrections, Labor and Workforce Development, Operating Engineers Combine Efforts in Prisoner Training Program

Providing career education to prisoners is one part of a goal to reduce recidivism as exiting prisoners are better prepared to enter the work world. The State Training and Employment Program is administered by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Business Partnerships and funded by a set-aside from the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

On June 27th, ten students from Hiland Mountain Correctional Center graduated from the Alaska Operating Engineers/Employers Training Trust Center (AOEET) located in Palmer. Kaile Lewis graduated with a Class A CDL.

The AOEET 3-week training consisted of: OSHA 10 and Forklift Certification, North Slope Training Card, Mine Safety and Health Administration card for sand and gravel, CDL-class B with automatic endorsement, Heavy Equipment training/ orientation on Loader, Dozer, Articulating truck, Backhoe, Roller and Grader. Tammi Charlsworth, Kaile Lewis, Amanda Markegard, and Kayleen Wells surpassed the orientation for heavy equipment and were indentured as apprentices for the upcoming March 2015 class.

“This project was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career; it was a community involvement, from the steadfast leadership of Mike Holcomb and Adam Ferguson at AOEET, to Superintendent Mike Gilligan’s transportation team back and forth to DMV, Social Security, and medical appointments for DOT physicals. HMCC’s Gloria Johnson, Lieutenant Vikki Lacy, Ed Coordinator Karen Jenkins and DOL’s Career Specialist Anne Velardi. Also, the interaction taken with the community to make this successful was absolutely positive. This process gave me more confidence the public respects what the Department is doing to reduce recidivism,” said CJP Gary Olsen.

Hiland Mountain Inmate Crafters Give Back to Community

In 2013 Hiland Mountain Correctional Center has, for the sixth year, teamed up with the Palmer Police Department for their annual giveback program for the Christmas season. This program helps the elderly that reside in the valley. The Police Department, with help from other sponsors provide food, assistance with rent and heating costs, as well as Christmas gifts. The Police department delivers these items and spends time with the individuals, giving them a special holiday to remember. Hiland Mountain Correctional Center and the Prisoners in the Hobby Craft Shop spend hours to make homemade items such as quilts, hats, and scarfs in hopes to make someone’s holiday season special. These crafts are gifts from the heart, and have special meaning to the ones who make them as well as those who receive them. The supplies needed for this project come from donated fabric as well as materials purchased by Native Culture Club. The women here at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center have donated approximately 90 quilts, 30 hats, 30 scarfs to this program. These items will be delivered December 19 to the Palmer Police Department.