AK DOC Today

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

Kodiak event celebrates reentry successes

On March 16, 2018 PO III Jill Bunting and the Kodiak Area Mentor Program (KAMP) teamed up to hold the Second Annual Reentry Recognition Kodiak event at the Roy H. Madsen Justice Center in Kodiak, Alaska.

This year’s program started with Department of Corrections recognizing Threshold Recycling for their partnership in employing one of the speakers as an intern at their facility. Threshold Recycling has been a partner with Department of Corrections for decades as a community work service location. Last year Threshold took their involvement to the next level by employing one of the speakers as an intern and subsequently as a paid employee. Through this work experience, the individual was able to obtain full time employment at a local business. This individual had not previously worked for many years and at the time she started probation, she was not confident in her ability to obtain and maintain employment at all. Through the partnership with Threshold, this individual has returned to the workforce which has enriched her life financially and socially.

Thank you, Threshold Recycling!

Two local employers were also recognized for their partnership in reentry efforts. However, they humbly wished to remain anonymous, expressing the desire to continue to assist this population with no recognition.

Probation Officer Bunting presented their certificates of appreciation to Teresa Slaughter, Executive Director of Kodiak Area Mentor Program, to present to the employers privately.

Before the speakers took the podium, Probation Officer Bunting recognized Teresa Slaughter for her service as Kodiak Area Mentor Program founder and Executive Director. Teresa is leaving the island and her position will be taken over by Jonathan Strong.

Teresa, in partnership with Probation Officer Bunting, founded the Kodiak Area Mentor Program in May 2014. Since then the program has grown into a nonprofit networking organization that assists people through faith-based mentoring relationships in the Kodiak Jail, in the community, and through letter writing to individuals in prison.

Probation Officer Bunting began the next part of the program with an explanation of how this event to recognize reentry successes began in 2017 and how speakers are selected. The genesis of this event arose from a desire to recognize some individuals who, through their hard work and determination, have experienced successful completion of probation and far beyond that goal. This recognition has also proved valuable to the Court, law enforcement, the legal community and others who have interacted with these individuals and been a part of their journey. The qualifications to be a speaker at this event were: successful completion of probation, no criminal matters pending, employment, housing, transportation and living a changed life. Probation Officer Bunting emphasized that although public speaking is not comfortable for everyone, each of the speakers has an important message for the community and this is a skill that can help them communicate this. She explained that the speakers were invited months ago and coached by Kodiak Area Mentor Program mentors and other individuals to polish their speeches and make the most of the short time they had at the podium.

Four speakers told moving stories of how they worked to achieve sobriety and how their experiences have impacted their friends and families. Each speaker was given three minutes to address Judge Steve Cole and the members of the audience that packed the courtroom. They told their stories of recovery and victory over substance abuse. They recognized the people in their lives that helped them in their journey. Each speaker was presented with a Certificate of Achievement by Probation Officer Bunting.

Two of the four speakers have been participants in the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program (TBRA) while on probation supervision and through their success in that program they were able to qualify to receive other program assistance and have their own apartments.

After the speeches were presented the floor was turned over to Judge Cole who spoke to the audience and speakers about how moved he was at hearing each individual’s presentation.   Afterward, a reception was held with cookies, coffee and conversation where members of the audience could talk with the speakers individually and learn more about them.

Inmates graduate reentry class in Ketchikan

The Ketchikan Correctional Center continues to work hard to make sure that reentrants can be successful when they return to the community. Graduates of a recent reentry class learned valuable work search, job interviewing, resume and budgeting skills. From left to right, Jordan Joplin, Mathew Martinez, Engle Noble, Jeremy Sheldon and Adam Williams.

Commissioner Williams visits Southwest fish processing plant, explores possibilities

Earlier this week, Commissioner Dean Williams had the opportunity to visit a fish processing plant in Ekuk, just outside of Dillingham, with the facility’s owner, Jerry Hall, and PO Rexford Spofford. Commissioner Williams is exploring the idea of allowing inmates, near the end of their sentence, an opportunity to work at the camp during the fishing season.

Employment remains an important strategy to reduce the high recidivism rate of returning citizens.

DOC awarded Second Chance grant

The Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC) is pleased to announce that earlier this month we were awarded a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs and Bureau of Justice Assistance that will help us better fight and lower the state’s recidivism rate.

As Alaska’s criminal justice reform efforts continue to expand, and the state combats growing crime rates and an opioid epidemic, the Second Chance Act Statewide Adult Recidivism Reduction Strategic Planning Program grant will enhance DOC’s ability to do our part in creating a stronger and safer Alaska.

This grant will give us a chance to realign and focus our recidivism reduction efforts with our many community partners, who are crucial to the reentry process and reform efforts, while also allowing us to research the drivers of recidivism, establish Alaska’s recidivism reduction goals, review the alignment of existing DOC programs and policies with evidence-based practices, and develop a strategic plan to reach our recidivism reduction goals.

After a year of strategic plan development, DOC will apply for the second phase of the grant, which could allot up to $3 million for the plan’s implementation.

Currently, about two-thirds of people released from incarceration return to prison. This statistic has impacts far and wide across Alaska. The work we’ll be able to start and enhance with this funding will help us further build a solid foundation for reentry services that will help slow down the seemingly ever-revolving door of incarceration.

DOC talks reentry at Bear Tooth

Corrections and criminal justice is a complex beast, sometimes hard to explain and hard to understand. So last week we did something a little bit different — we decided to host and start a community conversation about what it takes for someone to be successful in society after being released from prison.

In Alaska, two out of three individuals recidivate after release from incarceration. Collateral consequences are large and impact every community throughout the state. One successful reentrant empowers not only themselves, but also their children and families. Their success directly affects ours; when we help a transitioning individual, we are helping our neighbors, our local businesses and ultimately the place we all call home. This is a hand-up not a hand-out; they cannot do it alone.

We want to thank everyone from the community who attended. We hope this was just the start of a much larger conversation about reentry, and that it was just one of many conversations between DOC and the community.

A big shout of to our panelists; Professionals from Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc., Alaska Ironworkers, New Life Development-Anchorage, and Alaska Public Media, and the three reentrants who clawed their way through the criminal justice system. Thank you, your work and determination is inspiring.

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Pitfalls & Perseverance: The Journey of a Reentrant

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In Alaska, two out of three individuals recidivate after release from incarceration. Collateral consequences are large and impact every community throughout the state. One successful reentrant empowers not only themselves, but also their children and families. Their success directly affects ours; when we help a transitioning individual, we are helping our neighbors, our local businesses and ultimately the place we all call home. This is a hand-up not a hand-out; they cannot do it alone (it takes a village to raise a child).

So join us, on August 25. Everyone’s welcome and admission is free. 

National Reentry Week Spotlight: New Life Development

As we celebrate National Rentry Week, Alaska Department of Corrections wants to recognize one of our many awesome community partners who is making a difference!

New Life Development has transitional supportive housing programs and services for men, women, and women with children who have had involvement with the criminal justice system.

Thank you New Life Development for helping Alaskans be successful!

We appreciate you!

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National Reentry Week Spotlight: Cook Inlet Tribal Council Inc., Recovery & Re-Entry Services

As we celebrate National Rentry Week, Alaska Department of Corrections wants to recognize one of our many awesome community partners who is making an positive impact on inmates inside and out.

Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc’s Recovery & Re-Entry Services Team is dedicated to lowering recidivism numbers by making sure individuals getting out of prison have the resources they need.

Thank you Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc’s Recovery & Re-Entry Services for helping Alaskans be successful!

We appreciate you!

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National Reentry Week Spotlight: Partners Reentry Center

As we celebrate National Reentry Week, Alaska Department of Corrections wants to recognize one of our many awesome community partners.

Since 2013, Partners Reentry Center, located at 419 Barrow in Anchorage, has provided over 4,300 reentrants housing, employment and supportive services in an effort to reduce recidivism and enhance public safety in Alaska.

Thank you Partners Reentry Center for helping Alaskans be successful!

We appreciate you!

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Bethel Inmates Give Back To Community

Julius Pleasant takes a break from teaching an Anger Management class at the Geo Group Tundra Center that houses Alaska Department of Corrections inmates to share how justice involved individuals are giving back to the community of Bethel, AK and the surrounding villages.

Projects such as handmade kuspuks, blankets and afghans are distributed to village elders, Alzheimer’s patients, disabled veterans, and expectant mothers.

We are so proud of him for leading these efforts.

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