AK DOC Today

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

PO Zener Saving Lives on Kenai River

Going over and beyond the call of duty, Wildwood Correctional Complex Probation Officer Mike Zener was recognized recently by the Kenai Police Department for helping to save lives in the Kenai River after a boat capsized. Check out the letter of commendation written about him.

Thank you PO Zener! We appreciate you!

The full text of the Letter of Commendation is available here.

Tenth Annual Kairos Retreat at Wildwood CC

Wildwood Correction Center hosted the 10th annual Kairos Retreat February 11-14. Kairos is a international prison program that is facilitated by the local faith community. 40 volunteers from Kasilof, Soldotna, Sterling and Kenai facilitate the meetings, discussion groups, music and programming food. Most of the volunteers are veterans from previous Kairos retreats. This years event had over 40 cleared to go and about 35 made it all the way through the retreat. The topics addressed include, Spiritual walk, internal barriers, forgiveness, anger management, character traits and developing good relationships. Two days, Friday and Saturday start at 8 am and conclude at 8 pm. The Sunday programming is culminated by the Closing Ceremony. The inmates are told that they will be asked to stand up in front of their peers and share what they have received from having attended. What they don’t know is that a group of visitors, (all screened) will also join the ceremony. At the designated time and while the men are singing, the visitors quietly sneak in behind the curtain. At a designated time, the current falls and the men see nearly 70 witnesses to their testimony. The impact is a part of the Kairos experience and program. The visitors are always highly impacted by what they hear and how the program has changed some lives.

Special thanks go out to Supt. Hibpshman and the WCC staff. Kairos staff and this year’s Director Dennis Murray did a wonderful job.

Wildwood Selects 2015 Employees of the Year

Each year, Wildwood Correctional Complex selects its Employees of the Year. Nominations are submitted by the entire staff and selected by an employee selection committee. Employees are selected for demonstrated professional duty performances, service to the state and Wildwood Correctional Complex and the support and assistance provided to their fellow employees. Robert Hibpsham, Superintendent of Wildwood Correctional Complex announced this year’s winners as Correctional Officer Paul Bell and Correctional Officer Lonnie Denney.

The two winners of the employee of the year award for 2015 are truly distinguished employees. Officer Bell, a 23 year Department of Corrections employee and Denney, a 12 year veteran of the department were selected for the award because they have been consistent, strong performers, both team players with good attitudes, a balanced demeanor, commitment to professionalism, and their ability to interact well with staff and prisoners alike.

Both Correctional Officer Bell and Denney are positive role models and greatly contribute to an effective work force and a positive work environment.

Wildwood Employees of the Year

Each year nominations for employee of the year are submitted by the entire staff and selected by an employee selection committee. Employees are selected for demonstrated professional duty performance, service to the state and Wildwood Correctional Complex and the support and assistance provided to their fellow employees. Robert Hibpshman, Superintendent of Wildwood Correctional Complex announced this year’s winners as Correctional Officer Heath Fulk and Correctional Officer John Howland.

The two winners of the employee of the year award for 2014 are truly distinguished employees. Fulk, a 4 year Department of Corrections employee and Howland, a 14 year veteran of the department were selected for the award because they have been consistent, strong performers, both team players with good attitudes, a balanced demeanor, commitment to professionalism, and their ability to interact well with staff and prisoner alike.

Both Correctional Officer Fulk and Howland are positive role models and greatly contribute to an effective work force and a positive work environment.

Wildwood Correctional Center Names Employees of the Year

Photo of Wildwood Correctional Center 2013 Employees of the Year

WWCC Employees of the Year: Sgt. Byron Kincaid, CO II Wanda Remington

The Wildwood Correctional Complex is proud to announce its 2013 Employees of the Year! They are Sergeant Byron Kincaid and Correctional Officer II Wanda Remington. Sergeant Kincaid began his career at SCCC in 2003 and transferred to Wildwood in 2005. He is currently a shift supervisor at Wildwood Pre-Trial. Superintendent Bob Hibpshman describes him as “Dependable, hardworking and an outstanding Shift Supervisor.” Sergeant Kincaid is always trying to make Wildwood shine. He is an excellent training source and leader among his peers. CO II Wanda Remington also began her career at SCCC in 2003. She transferred to Wildwood in 2006. She has been a Correctional Officer in each of Wildwood’s three compounds. Her current post is working in the Minimum camp, where she at times handles the Work Release and Dog Programs . Her Supervisors describe her as “hardworking, exceptional and a joy to work with as she always has a smile on her face”. Congratulations to these two outstanding employees! The staff at Wildwood appreciate everything that they do.

— Assistant Superintendent Shannon McCloud

Wildwood Fast-Tracks Mocha for Adoption

Mocha

Mocha: ready for adoption

AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION:

Mocha is a female husky/black lab mix and is around a year old. She is spayed and up to date on her shots. She has been through basic obedience at Wildwood Correctional Center in Kenai and is ready for her forever home. She is very sweet and loving. There is an adoption fee (around $150) to cover some of the costs of the spay and shots. Please contact 260-7282 or 260-7212 if you need more information.

Wildwood Inmates Raise $1,375 for Pediatric Cancer Victim

Wildwood inmates

Wildwood inmates, from left: Clayton Gottschalk (Native Culture), Frank Oleson (Inmate Council), and Michael Edmunds (BACED)

In August, the Peninsula Clarion ran a story about a small child with pediatric cancer. One of the Wildwood men, Frank Oleson, brought the paper to me and said “We want to help this family, can I set up a table to take donations to help this little girl?” I told him that his idea was wonderful, another way to give back to our local communities. Within two days, Inmate Oleson spread the word of the need for this two-year-old child and her family. In one evening of donations, $1,375 was raised and the money was forwarded to the family.

The family received the donation card a few days later and here is the response via FACEBOOK:
“Jon and I received the most amazing gift we’ve ever received in our lives today. We want to share it with you so you can be blessed as well. A card came addressed to us from Wildwood Correctional Complex. The incarcerated men at the prison had a fundraiser to help “little Linzi”. They sent $1,375. We were so touched and humbled by the gift we could hardly speak. To think that these men who have so little are willing to give so much to help us, a family they don’t even know, is amazing. I’m working on a thank you card …(this gift is so incredible I have no idea what to say!!!)

The thank you card was shared with the men and they were so thankful they could help. Little Linzi had her surgery this week to remove her tumors and her mother reports that she is doing well. You can follow Linzi’s cancer fight via FACEBOOK under Jen Shoemaker.

— Shannon McCloud

Wildwood Correctional Officer in Strongman Competition at Fitness Expo

Danny Autrey

Officer Autrey presses the “axle” weighing 250 pounds in an overhead lift. Photo courtesy Danny Autrey.

Wildwood Correctional Officer Danny Autrey placed second in the heavyweight category of the Alaska’s Strongest Man competition held during Alaska Fitness Expo IV late last month at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage. Autrey successfully pressed a 250-pound “axle” in an overhead lift. He has qualified for the North American Strongman Nationals 2014.

Corrections, Labor and Workforce Development Collaborate on Prisoner Hire at Kenai Canneries

Kenai Canneries

As of Friday, July 1st, 21 inmates from Wildwood have been hired by two local canneries to help with their fish processing. Staff at Pacific Star Seafoods and Great Pacific Seafoods met with Deputy Commissioner Ron Taylor, Director of Institutions Bryan Brandenburg and Wildwood Superintendent Bob Hibpshman in May to discuss this pilot program. After much conversation, a strict internal review process and a tentative July work schedule, the cannery administrators hired every inmate that was referred for employment.

One cannery administrator from Pacific Star Seafoods stated that she was initially very apprehensive about hiring inmates from a prison. She said she has now changed her mind and would hire another inmate crew whenever we referred them. She said the inmates were very respectful, hardworking and SOBER. She said she would like to keep a few on through the fall to assist with construction projects related to the 2014 season. She said she was so glad she had changed her mind about the program, as it has really turned out well. Great Pacific Seafoods foreman Nick Barrie raved about his inmate employees and said he too would hire every one we referred to them. He said that they had been so desperate for employees that they recruited through the Los Angeles Job Center and spent $30,000 getting people up here; but unfortunately many had already quit and went back to California. Other staff also stopped and remarked how much they appreciated the inmate workers. Mr. Barrie said “reliable”, that is what they are and that is big with us. The inmates are working 12-16 hours per day and do get overtime. Many inmates that I have spoken to realize that they are the ambassadors for this new program and want to do well. They also realize that if they do well, offers of employment after incarceration are likely. Most inmates will be working through Mid-August with these two canneries.

— Assistant Superintendent Shannon McCloud