AK DOC Today

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

Ketchikan inmates learn about marine safety

Inmates at the Ketchikan Correctional Center recently took part in Alaska Marine Safety Education Association training, sponsored by the Department of Corrections. AMSEA instructor Dug Jensen was at the facility for the three-day class that certified the inmates to be marine safety drill instructors. Many of Ketchikan’s industries are water related and require marine safety instruction certification. Ketchikan Correctional Center is committed to providing inmates skills and certifications that can be used in the local job market as part of its reentry program.

Ketchikan Correctional’s 2017 Torch Run Supports Special Olympics

Alaska Department of Corrections employees in Ketchikan, and across Alaska, joined several law enforcment agencies over the weekend for the Special Olympics Alaska annual Law Enforcement Torch Run.

The group of 88 runners and walkers representing the Southeast community raised $6,000 for the nonprofit.

All of the proceeds remain in Alaska communities and support local athletes.

“For us, this is huge,” said Ketchikan Correctional Center superintendent Jessica Mathews.

This year 14 Alaska communities took part.

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Ketchikan Correctional Center’s Flagger’s Class

Alaska Department of Corrections Ketchikan Correctional Center held it’s first Flagger’s Class in five years recently.

Thirteen inmates took part in the day-long American Traffic Safety Services Association class which could lead to flagger certification after passing the National Flagger Examination test.

Flagger jobs are in high demand in the Ketchikan area with numerous large and small highway projects taking place in the community and flagger certification will give KCC inmates a leg up in getting work on those projects.

The Flagger class is part of KCC’s commitment to ensuring inmates are successful in their reentry efforts.

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Ketchikan Correctional Center Crochets for Christmas

The female inmates at Ketchikan Correctional Center began crocheting in early August and spent the last several months creating scarves and hats to give something back to the Ketchikan community. For the third year, the ladies taught, shared and learned how to crochet hats and scarves. The ladies elected to donate this year’s bounty to the Ketchikan Harley Rider’s Association to benefit their Toys for Tots annual Christmas toy drive. In the past area non-profits such as the Salvation Army and the Peace Health Medical Center have been blessed with the creations. Terra Adams, Shelly Douglas and Evelyn Calhoun were among the approximately 15 women that created 97 hats and 91 scarves.

Superintendent Jessica Mathews, Probation Officer Nora Dale and Education Coordinator Dave Kiffer played Santa Claus and delivered the items to the Plaza Mall Toys for Tots location. Donald “Gabby” Evans was the resident Harley rider to accept the items and reported that they planned to provide an item to as many children as possible.

Thank you to the participants of this program for spending many weeks working on this project with the intention of paying it forward.

We appreciate you!

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Ketchikan Correctional Changing of the Guard

Congratulations to newly promoted Edward Hendricks to Correctional Officer IV with the changing of the (old) Guard by Retired Lt. David Henderson at Ketchikan Correctional Center.

Thank you to both for your service. It has been an honor to work with both gentlemen and the staff at KCC. Lt. Henderson began working here before most of us were born and newly promoted Lt. Hendricks has already stepped into those shoes and hit the ground running.

American Heart Association Certification at KCC

Congratulations to 88 inmates at Ketchikan Correctional Center who so far in 2016, have completed American Heart Association Certification for either First Aid Basics or CPR/AED use and will receive certification cards from Peace Health Ketchikan Medical Center that they can use to improve their job prospects in Ketchikan and elsewhere. James Washington, Randall Johanson, Billy Riggs, Josh Cowley, Scott Arrington and Zack Willard were in the most recent CPR class.

Ketchikan Correctional Center’s Origami Cranes

Using origami and a children’s novel, inmates at Ketchikan Correctional Center have inspired themselves and others by creating thousands of cranes.

No not the real birds, but 3,000 of the paper kind that is part of an annual program where more than 40 inmates compete in May and June to see which ward can make 1,000 of them first.

The origami cranes are then presented to three local organizations who use them to help their clients experience peace and to deal with life issues.

KCC Superintendent Jessica Mathews says the cranes which are made out of donated magazines are also helping the inmates who get to see that they are making a difference in their community.

Mathews calls the process therapeutic because what you do to one side, you do the other.

This year the nonprofit Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep who helps with bereavement with families who experience baby deaths, Post 3 of the American Legion who works with elderly and disabled veterans, and the female empowerment group, Girls on the Run all accepted the cranes from participants.

The Ketchikan Pioneer Home, Peace Health Ketchikan Medical Center, Women in Safe Homes, and the families and friends of Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich, who were killed in 2014 in Tanana all, have received cranes in the past three years.

The program is inspired by the character of Sadako Sasaki who is featured in the children’s novel “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” by Eleanor Coerr. Sadako is a two-year-old girl who survives the 1945 atomic bomb attack on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. As a 12-year-old, Sadako learns she has leukemia as a result of the radiation and is given months to live. While hospitalized, Sadako is inspired by a Japanese legend to make 1,000 paper cranes in order to be granted a wish — the wish for peace and life, according to Mathews.

And with inmates using phrases like having balance, being humble, and doing something good for someone else, it looks like the cranes is creating peace inside and out KCC.

Awesome job Ketchikan Correctional Center! We appreciate you!

Photos courtesy of Taylor Balkom, Ketchikan Daily News.