AK DOC Today

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

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.

Officer Torrey named SCCC 2011 Employee of the Year

Correctional Officer Erich Torrey has been named Employee of the Year at Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward. Officer Torrey began his career at SCCC in November 2002. He was the institutional training officer in 2007 and was promoted to sergeant in 2008. Officer Torrey has been the SCCC Employee of the Month twice: in November 2008 and in July 2010.

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In 2008, Officer Torrey reorganized his unit and made numerous improvements and innovation to the manner in which training was presented and conducted. He constantly looks for ways to improve the operation of the institution. In 2010 Officer Torrey served as Sgt. for APS and all three houses. The demands of supervising the entire population and staff is a full-time job for three sergeants, but due to circumstances rose to the occasion and single-handedly managed inmates and staff. “Officer Torrey works extremely well with peers, supervisors and management. Completes all tasks assigned and constantly looks for ways to improve the operation of the institution,” said Superintendent Turnbull.

DOC presence boosts Choose Respect rally in Seward

Some 30 staff from the department’s central office and Spring Creek Correctional Center helped lead a large turnout for Thursday’s ‘Choose Respect’ rally and march in Seward on Thursday, March 31. Presenters included Division Directors Donna White (Probation and Parole) and Garland Armstrong (Institutions), Superintendent Craig Turnbull, and Lt. Bob Lockeby. About 100 residents turned out for the event, designed to bring attention to Alaska’s high rates of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Spring Creek Correctional Officer honored for volunteer work

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Spring Creek Correctional Center CO III Brian Hutchison was named 2010 Volunteer of the Year by the Seward SeaLife Center for his work as a diver.
“Brian’s volunteer accomplishments are outstanding,” wrote Ian Dutton, the center’s President and CEO. “Brian has participated in over 60 dives which involve cleaning three unique 90,000, 102,000 and 120,000 gallon habitats as well as tending other divers to insure their safety while in the water. Volunteering with the dive department requires physical and mental strength as well as a keen sense of judgment, which Brian has consistently demonstrated. Currently, Brian has volunteered over 120 hours to improving the dive department. His generous volunteer contributions greatly benefit the SeaLife Center. As one of only two volunteer divers, Brian is truly dedicated to diving and to promoting the mission of the center. Brian is a great example of the positive impact that community members can have when supporting local organizations.”