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Thursday Oct 03, 2013

A Message from Commissioner Joe Schmidt: Today Alaska is Housing Its Own Prisoners

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Goose Creek Correctional Center

In June 2009, after a brief groundbreaking ceremony, construction began on 435,000-square foot, $240 million Goose Creek Correctional Center. Four years and three months later close to 1,200 of the facility’s 1,536 beds are filled. Thanks to dedicated teamwork on the part of correctional facilities statewide and the hard work of Superintendent Amy Rabeau and her staff, a successful ramp-up of Goose Creek Correctional Center has occurred. Challenges arose and were addressed effectively with no single event causing a delay.

In 2006 there were close to 1,000 Alaska prisoners housed out-of-state. Today Alaska is housing its own prisoners while the 300-350 employees hired to maintain their incarceration are Alaskans. This successful ramp-up presented the challenge of airlifting and ground-transporting close to 1,100 prisoners from Hudson, Colorado to a range of correctional facilities in Alaska, from Seward to Point Mackenzie. This occurred without a hitch, and included the transfer of prisoner property as well as state-owned equipment and records. Likewise recruitment efforts provided record numbers of qualified applicants. Today, 277 Alaskans are employed at Goose Creek in a variety of functions from security to education, medical, food service, maintenance and administration. In returning its prisoners to Alaska, the department will be in a better position to promote successful reentry while providing secure confinement/. Prisoners will be, in many cases, more connected to family and support systems. Over 200 prisoners at Goose Creek are already participating in education and vocational programming and an intensive substance abuse treatment program.

— Commissioner Joe Schmidt

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