AK DOC Today

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

SCCC Inmate Class Expands Crocheting Skills

SCCC Crocheting

I’m an Education Coordinator at Spring Creek and a knitter who’s recently discovered a passion for knitting lace. Knitting at lunch was fun but time flew by and it was over much too fast. So what started as an enterprise in my own criminal thinking – how can I get away with knitting at work – turned into something entirely different – a daily crochet class for General Population prisoners and conversation about children, respect, food, family, music and more. And like broccoli hidden in the macaroni and cheese, crochet time is also a lesson in anger management and impulse control, in goal setting and delayed gratification, in cross cultural communication and social skills. It’s a quietly subversive time with amazing and wonderful results. Hats, scarves, booties and blankets are made and creative muscles flexed as prisoners adapt patterns to their own designs. Correctional Officers do double takes as they walk by the classroom. Everyone knows someone who knows how to crochet, especially in the prisoner population where so many learned how in juvenile detention. And me, the knitter who discovered lace? Now I’m a crocheter too, grateful for the time and space we’ve created and constantly surprised by what happens.

— Nonna Shtipelman, Educational Coordinator, Spring Creek Correctional Center

Celebration Lunch set for Retiring Superintendent Craig Turnbull

Craig Turnbull

A celebration luncheon for retiring Spring Creek Correctional Center Superintendent Craig Turnbull is scheduled for 11 am Thursday, Feb. 28th at Spring Creek. Everyone is welcome to attend and is invited to share memories and wish him well.

Craig began his career with the Alaska Department of Corrections on April 15, 1991 as a Correctional Officer I at Spring Creek Correctional Center (SCCC). Craig was promoted to Correctional Officer III on February 1, 1995 and selected as the SCCC Employee of the Year in 1997. He served as Shift Supervisor for both A and B Shifts throughout his time as Sergeant and was promoted to Assistant Superintendent on January 7, 2000. Craig was promoted to Superintendent on November 23, 2001.

As evidence of his strong support for programming, Craig was instrumental in bringing the Youthful Offender Program (YOP) to Spring Creek in 1991. This partnership between the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and the Department of Corrections served over 400 inmates, of which almost 170 earned high school diplomas and 20
GEDs. Now at Anchorage Jail, the YOP continues to build on the success gained at Spring Creek. Craig’s support for programming allows Education staff to do their jobs despite the many obstacles so often encountered in a prison setting. Craig’s support and strong belief that programming matters will be sorely missed.

Throughout his career at Spring Creek, Craig maintained a strong connection with the community of Seward. Leading by example, he encouraged staff and prisoner clubs alike to donate to and support through volunteer efforts the American Legion, Boy Scouts, Seward Fire Department, Seward Salmon Derby, Seward Mount Haven Elder Center, Seward Marathon Wrestling, Toys for Tots, and the Polar Bear Jump fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, amongst others.

Craig’s optimistic outlook and “can do” attitude are positive influences to all around him. His encouragement of good communication fosters an atmosphere of teamwork and respect across all Shifts and among Security and Support Staff as well. In a profession where your heart has no business being displayed upon your sleeve, Craig’s genuine care and support for staff, both in and out of uniform, is always evident. Making decisions for the “good of the order” takes a depth of understanding, an ability to weigh all options, and the strength of character to stand-up for the best – though not always easiest – solution. Craig’s heart, grounded in experience and knowledge, guided SCCC through many difficult decisions and we wish him well. We’ll miss you, Craig!

— Asst. Superintendent Bobby Lockeby

Chaplain Installation Held at Spring Creek

Chaplain Installation

Left: James Duncan, statewide Chaplaincy Coordinator; center, Seward Mayor Dave Seaward; right: David Arestad, SCCC Chaplain

Assistant Superintendent David Lockeby presided at the Chaplain Installation held Thursday, December 13. Here is the text of his address to those assembled for the ceremony:
“The Chaplaincy Program began at SCCC many years ago when Chaplain David Walker began as a volunteer. After a couple of years Alaska Correctional Ministries offered Chaplain Walker a full time position as Chaplain at SCCC. Chaplain Walker retired in 2002 and the program was continued by Chaplain Robert Thomas and Assistant Chaplain David Arestad. In 2006 the Chaplaincy Program at SCCC was no longer a paid position and we began relying on volunteers to help support the religious needs of the prisoners. Chaplain Arestad along with Chaplain Taylor volunteered and would come a couple times a week. We are very pleased that once again we will be having a full time Chaplain position and that this position is being filled by Chaplain Arestad. Together with the religious volunteers, Chaplain Arestad will be continuing a wonderful program that provides religious services to the many prisoners interested and in need.”

Inmate committee promotes education program at Spring Creek

SCCC Inmates

Program participants, left to right: Jon Woodard, Michael King, Tracy Hutton, Donald Samel and Aaron Young

In late 2011, Spring Creek prisoner club, T.I.M.E. (Together in Many Endeavors), initiated a pilot program to prepare inmates for AKDEC water and wastewater collection, distribution and treatment certification exams required to earn provisional certification in the areas of water treatment and distribution, along with wastewater collection and treatment. Throughout 2012, six T.I.M.E. sponsored prisoners completed training programs via California State University, Sacramento’s Office of Water Programs, earned Certificates of Completion and qualified to sit for certification exams through AKDEC’s Operator Training and Certification Program. Three prisoners took certification exams in October 2012 and one successfully earned his provisional certification.

This prisoner-led initiative is noteworthy as almost all aspects from initial research to prisoner selection, training and exam preparation were done with minimal assistance from DOC staff. While Education Coordinators proctored AKDEC certification exams, everything else was prisoner-initiated and managed. Based on the success of its pilot program, T.I.M.E. plans to sponsor additional prisoners in 2013 to build upon the successes and lessons learned in its initial run. A second group of prisoners is expected to begin training in March 2013, and study groups composed of students past and present will ensure all students are ready for October 2013 certification exams. T.I.M.E. also plans to research whether state certification qualifies for college credit toward undergraduate degree programs, along with employment prospects for prisoners releasing from DOC custody.

Young Offenders Graduate with Honors at Spring Creek

Spring Creek Correctional Center conducted graduation commencement ceremonies for six high school graduates and two college graduates on June 21st. The ceremony marked the 13th and final year for the Youthful Offender Program ant Spring Creek. Over 200 prisoners have received their high school diploma as a result of this innovative program. The YOP is moving to the Anchorage Complex this coming school year to better serve participants who may have not been convicted or sentenced but remain in custody. The Anchorage School district will now work with ACC staff in the delivery of the program.

Correctional Officer Joseph Roman Spring Creek Employee of the Year

Spring Creek Correctional Center’s CO II Joseph Roman is honored at a lunch at Seward. Roman was named Employee of the Year. Roman, who served over 23 years in the U.S. Air Force, began his career at SCCC in December 2003.

“Joe Roman is a quiet man who commands respect of his peers and prisoners,” said SCCC Superintendent Craig Turnbull.

2012 EOY Press Release

Marine Safety Class offered inmates at Spring Creek

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District partnered with Spring Creek Correctional Center this week to offer the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association’s 18 Hour Survival Procedures, Equipment and Onboard Drills Course to inmates in both the Youthful Offender Program and General Population. This three day course provides practical information on the survival equipment found on most commercial vessels and prepares participants to conduct the emergency drills necessary to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. This course meets training requirements for commercial fishermen operating on documented vessels beyond the Boundary Line and earns sea time toward licensure. Everyone who successfully completes these courses is issued a Drill Conductor Card that serves as proof of compliance with USCG training requirements.

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“We are proud to announce all fourteen participants completed the course this week and earned their Drill Conductor Cards. Several participants release in April and are eager to put their skills to work in Alaska’s maritime industry. Special thanks to AMSEA Instructor Dan Walker for coming to Spring Creek and Sergeant John Cox and crew for ensuring smooth sailing throughout the course,” said Superintendent Craig Turnbull.

Polar Bears, Sunsets and Self-Worth

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Spring Creek Correctional Center extends a warm thank you to Charlen Satrom who shared her time, energy and enthusiasm with inmates participating in water color classes funded by the Kenai Peninsula & Borough School District. Nationally recognized for her work in oils, watercolors, pastels and other media, Ms. Satrom led two groups of inmates through Alaska-themed paintings from start to finish over five days.

The transformation was amazing – from blank page to sailboats at sunset and polar bears appearing at dusk. Equally amazing was the transformation apparent in inmates as Ms. Satrom gently guided them from sketching subject matter to bringing it to life one brush stroke at a time. Participants’ pride in their work was obvious and undeniable, especially upon completion of class as paintings were displayed and viewed as a whole.

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Ms. Satrom trained in art and education at Seattle Pacific University. Among her many works is a portrait of Rep. Don Young which hangs in a Washington, D.C. legislative building. Ms. Satrom also runs Brush with Adventure: Charlen Style, a non-profit organization providing artistic opportunities to underprivileged, underrepresented, and incarcerated populations. Classes like those held at Spring Creek Correctional Center teach participants to see the beauty around them, to express themselves in a positive way and to build both self confidence and self worth through individual achievement. Participants also learn to accept constructive criticism, a skill essential for success at Spring Creek and beyond.

– report from SCCC Education Coordinator Nonna Shtipelman

Spring Creek Marks 10 years of Youthful Offenders Program

2011 marked the 10th anniversary of Spring Creek Correctional Center’s Youthful Offender Program and the 10th graduating class from Spring Creek High School. To date, over 400 inmates have participated in YOP, with 163 high school and 19 GED graduates.

This year’s graduation also marked the retirement of Spring Creek High School Principal Wayne Young. Principal Young was instrumental in the design of the YOP, working with DOC to build an individually structured, holistic program giving youthful offenders an opportunity to rehabilitate within a secure environment. Program objectives include high school completion for inmates up to 22 years of age, vocational certification, correspondence college courses, substance abuse and anger management education and/or treatment.

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New Principal Monica Hinders joined YOP in June. A former teacher, school counselor and district-wide assessment coordinator, Principal Hinders was most recently a PO II at Spring Creek and brings a solid understanding of DOC practices to her enthusiasm and experience as an educator.

Information on the YOP, along with inmate waiver, transfer and enrollment in Spring Creek High School is available electronically. Please contact Spring Creek PO III Clif Simons if you believe inmates at your facility may benefit and wish to participate.