AK DOC Today

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

Denali Peak Award Nominees

We wanted to recognize a few of our Alaska Department of Corrections employees who went above and beyond to respond to a critical situation and who were nominated for the Governor’s Denali Peak Performance Award.

On March 11, 2016, a four year old boy reported to the Anchorage Probation Office with a probationer. The probationer reported that the boy was left in his custody for two days, after the boy’s father told the probationer that he was out looking for his next fix. The probationer felt that something needed to be done because the home was full of needles and other paraphernalia.

Anchorage Probation Officers Katie Perry (PO II), Travis Morris (PO II), Christina Berggren (PO II), Ann Quinn (PO II), Lana Grist (PO II), Dwayne Hanson (PO III) divided and conquered this unusual situation. Custody was taken care of the boy by some of the officers by feeding him while the other officers conducted a home visit. It was confirmed that there were drugs, needles, and other drug paraphernalia in the home and it was not a safe environment.

The Office of Children’s Services were contacted to handle the well being of the young boy. The immediate action by these Anchorage Probation Officers in the caring of this child kept him safe and avoided any further neglect.

Thank you for your service! We appreciate you!

DOC in the News

Below are two recent links from the Alaska Dispatch News and KTVA on their coverage of Pt. Mackenzie Correctional Farm and how the Alaska Department of Corrections is helping to feed Alaska’s hungry.

Thank you to the awesome staff out at Pt. Mackenzie and Goose Creek for your help.

http://www.adn.com/slideshow/photos-inmate-farmers-feed-alaskas-hungry

http://www.ktva.com/alaska-inmates-help-feed-the-hungry-with-farm-fresh-food-333/

Walk a Mile In Her Shoes

It’s that time of year again! March means April is right around the corner, and April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)!

If you would like to support Star Alaska and the Correctional Officers that are participating in the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, please help our mission by donating! Or you can support STAR by getting a team together, or participating on your own!

For information on participating or donating contact Officer Tommy Quinlan at Thomas.quinlan@Alaska.gov Thank you for all your support!

Celebrate Recovery

Alaska Department of Corrections in partnership with the Kodiak Area Mentor Program hosted a very meaningful event for Kodiak that involved Amy Avery Gill, the Alaska Representative for Celebrate Recovery.

In 2009 Amy was arrested in Kodiak and charged with MICS III, MICS IV, Aiding and Abetting MICS I; and Conspiracy First Degree MICS (Criminal Enterprise). She had five co-defendants, and her role in the offense was as the higher level distributor of methamphetamine to four of the co-defendants.

Amy’s success on probation, being supervised in Anchorage by PO Lana Grist, led to her early termination from probation and her securing employment as the Administrative Assistant at Faith Christian Community Church as well as obtaining the position of Alaska Representative for Celebrate Recovery.

What makes this event stand out is that when Amy was invited to speak to KAMP and Celebrate Recovery, she asked if it would be possible for her to address the law enforcement officers, court system personnel, and prosecutor who were involved in her case. She asked to have the opportunity to tell them that the work that they do really matters, and that lives can really change.

Many of those in attendance thanked Amy for having the courage to come back to Kodiak and face the people who were instrumental in putting her in jail.

Amy gave credit to the TLC Program at Hiland Mountain Correctional for being an integral part of her success.

Thank you Amy! We appreciate you!

A Thank You from Probation Officer Kelly Marre

Dear DOC employees & co-workers.
It has now been 14 months since I was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. From the very beginning of the announcement about my diagnoses, I was overwhelmed by the support of all of you. People I don’t even know personally donated leave hours, sent cards & gifts, and messages of encouragement and prayers. I never imagined I would be blessed by so many people I work with in the Department of Corrections. There are so many special people to thank, but I most certainly must think my immediate supervisor Josh Mercer, his former supervisor, Billy Houser, all of my EM Unit co-workers, and all the different departments in DOC. Monica in payroll was a huge help as was Suzan with ASEA. Jim Kalak earnestly advocated for my union benefits and helped coordinate leave. I know GCCC Superintendent, John Conant was also a huge support. Honestly I just can’t remember everyone who was instrumental in helping me get through this ordeal and keep my job. If I forgot to mention your name it’s not because I don’t appreciate you. So many people donated leave for me so I could maintain my necessary medical insurance. Jan Jenski organized a blood drive in my honor and Mindy Hardin organized a bone marrow drive. Many DOC employees donated items and participated in the fundraising dinner and auction held to help with my many medical expenses. It’s just super amazing and I am grateful to each and every one of you very generous and wonderful people. Every time my doctors would let me come home for a week I would work. My job is not just a job. I love working for DOC. I am now almost seven months post-transplant and am working six hours per day. I soon will be back to 7.5. I feel stronger every day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My family sends their gratitude as well.

— Kelly Marre

DOC Share Campaign Success

The DOC Silent Auction and Alaska Potato Bar was a huge success! DOC raised $10,446.24 towards the SHARE Campaign. Thank you to all that participated. We would like to send a special thank you to Phil Cole for all of his hard work and for reaching out to the community for the silent auction items that were so generously donated.

Recruiting and PR

During the last week the Department of Corrections Training Academy had the pleasure of participating in two public relations/recruiting events. The first was the Alaska Federation of Native Conference held at the Dena’ina Convention Center in downtown Anchorage. This is the largest gathering of Native peoples in the United States. The AFN Convention usually has anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 attendees each year. Department of Corrections was happy to share booth space with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. With our combined efforts we were able to provide information to the public concerning available career opportunities with DOC and throughout the state. This was also a prime opportunity to engage the public in conversation concerning reentry practices. Overall, our representatives at the booth reported very positive experiences with those who stopped to chat.
Our second event this week took place yesterday October 21, 2015 at UAA Campus. Department of Corrections participated in the 8th Annual Women in Law Enforcement Recruitment Fair. Local, State and federal law enforcement agencies gathered with the goal of actively recruiting female candidates. This was a great opportunity to meet and discuss career opportunities in a casual setting. Events like these impact public opinion in a positive way providing information and career opportunities to those in our community. We would like to thank all the participants that came out to assist with both events. With the aid of our field offices, institutions, medical and support staff, these events continue to be successful.

Alaska Dispatch Job Fair

On Wednesday, September 16, 2015, The Alaska Dispatch News held a job fair at the Alaska Airlines Center located on the UAA campus in Anchorage. Department of Corrections had a booth staffed with professionals from the medical division, probation/parole division and training division.

Partnering with UAA provided an opportunity for our department to seek out a very diverse pool of potential applicants. While working at the booth our employees represented DOC as very knowledgeable professionals that take pride in their career choices. Foot traffic in the arena provided great opportunity for exposure and allowed our representatives to provide information about positions currently available within our department and explain how to apply through Workplace Alaska.

It is the volunteer participants that make these events so successful and help foster a positive image of Corrections with our community.

Consider Nominating a Coworker for a Peak Performance Denali Award

The nomination period for the 2015 GOVERNOR’S PEAK PERFORMANCE DENALI AWARDS is now open. Please consider nominating a coworker for this prestigious award! The Department of Corrections has been well-represented in past years by Denali Award nominees and honorees. The nomination period closes February 13th. Nominating a co-worker is not difficult: the first step is to:

  1. Download a nomination form at this link: http://doa.alaska.gov/dop/denaliAwards/forms/. There are six award categories: Co-Worker Recognition, Customer Service Excellence, Exceptional Performance, Crisis Responder, Innovation in Cost-saving and Leadership. In two categories (Customer Service Excellence and Exceptional Performance) there are separate team and individual categories. The criteria that is used to determine category winners and honorable mentions is here:  http://doa.alaska.gov/dop/denaliAwards/scoringCriteria/.
  2. The next step is to complete the form and write a short description explaining the reasons for the nomination. Here is a link to view examples of completed nomination forms: http://doa.alaska.gov/dop/fileadmin/DenaliAwards/nominationExamples2011.pdf.
  3. Each nomination must be signed by the Commissioner, your Division Director, and, if you work at Correctional Facility, first initialed by the Superintendent. You can forward the nomination to the Division Director as a scanned attachment to an email, or you can send it to Kay Hoover who will make sure it is forwarded for signature. Do not hesitate to contact the department rep if you have any questions or would like some feedback on your nomination form.

Chaplain Duncan Meets Former CO and Crime Writer Ron Walden

Photo of Walden and Duncan

Former CO and author Ron Walden, left, sits with Chaplain Jim Duncan

Ron Walden retired from the Department of Corrections in 1990 but he did not stay retired long.  Alyeska Pipeline Security hired Ron and sent him to the North Slope.  While in his downtime he read a few crime novels (Grisham, Koon, Cusler and Patterson) and the light bulb went on.  Ron started writing a novel that included the line, pigs and politics.  The pilot, turned CO III, turned Pipeline Security officer was now exploring writing for the first time.  Success did not come quickly.  Ron and I met several years ago at Soldotna’s Moose Is Loose Bakery.  While nursing a couple of world renowned fritters I asked Ron how he got started:

Q:  When did your writing skills begin to manifest?

Ron:  I never wrote anything but on the job reports.  Writing was never on my radar until I went to work on the slope.  My first book showed it.  It took 5 years to complete.

Q:  What is it about writing that inspires you?
Ron:  I enjoy the research.  I spent several years in North Dakota to write Devils Heart.  I can get lost in researching.

Q.  Cinch Knot was inspired by your work for Alyeska, which one is inspired by your work in Corrections?
Ron:  (Ron laughs) I suspect all of them.  All those years of listening to some really good WCC inmate stories gives you good fodder.  The stories are always fiction but I like to embed true facts.  I want to make it as believable as fiction can be.  Naturally I weave in some of the great eating establishments in South Central Alaska, (i.e. Moose Is Loose, Froso’s, Fat Olives, Duncan House, Gwinnies and a unnamed Mexican chain in Anchorage).

Q:  What advice would you give an unpublished writer?
Ron:  First, be dedicated to writing or your story will lose continuity.  Second, be dedicated to getting it published.  Eleven rejections will take some wind out of your sales.  My break came when I found a hungry publisher.  I became his fourth book and they have published 7 of my books out of their 400 publications.  (Publication Consultants)

Q.  What’s the hardest part of writing?
Ron:  Simply page two.  You have to hook the reader with page one and then keep them hooked from page two through page 300.  That is tough. 

(One of Ron’s retired trooper friends sits down and adds, “Ron’s hardest part is keeping his crayons sharp.”  We all laugh.  Ron attracts a good sense of humor.)

Q:  You killed off a Duncan in Poacher’s Paradise and my dad takes ownership of that character.  Do you have room for any characters we might know of in a future book?
Ron:  (Ron laughs and pauses with a smile.)  You will just have to buy the book. 

Ron’s books can be found at Amazon and local book stores.  This chaplain can endorse all of them as good wholesome adventure/crime novels set in Alaska.  The prison libraries have some copies.