AK DOC Today

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

Pt. Mac stays busy during successful harvest season

Across Alaska, farmers are harvesting and showing of their beautiful and bountiful crops. At the Pt. MacKenzie Correctional Farm, a successful growing season means everyone stays busy.

So far, they’ve harvested:
🥦2,500 pounds of broccoli
👨‍🌾1,500 pounds of green cabbage
👩‍🌾1,000 pounds of Napa cabbage
🙃1,500 pounds of purple cabbage
👩‍🍳2,000 pounds of cauliflower
🍴1,200 pounds of celery
🥒7,000 pounds of cucumbers
🍅900 pounds of tomatoes
🍅200 pounds of cherry tomatoes
👨‍🍳3,000 pounds of zucchini squash

So, what do they do with all that? Well, some goes to our other facilities around the state, but much of it is donated to nonprofits who serve those in need.

Meet Assistant Superintendent Marianna Miranda : How the DOC crew got their start in public service

Did you miss our #tbt from last week on Facebook?  We introduced Assistant Superintendent Marianna Miranda from Spring Creek Correctional Center. She’s worked at the Seward prison since 1995, but before that she thought she might take a different path.

In 1986, she attended school in Hawaii studying Travel Industry Management.

“That is when I was introduced to all things Aloha and fell in love with the place, traditions, food and especially the people. Going to school in Hawaii was and is such a huge part of who I am still to this day. I thoroughly enjoyed college and my time there. I thought it was the most perfect place on earth and still do vacationing with my family there as much as possible,” she explained.

(She even married her husband on a Kona beach.)

When she returned home to Alaska, she worked in the travel industry in Anchorage. She says she “stumbled” into her law enforcement career while working at a hotel in Valdez. The chief of police had an opening for a dispatcher and convinced her to apply.

“The Valdez Police Department was such a positive and supportive bunch to work with that soon I had the confidence to apply and work as a jailer for the City of Seward’s Jail. While working for the Valdez Police Department I attended the Departments Correctional Academy.”

A few years later, she moved to Seward and worked at the local jail until she started her career at Spring Creek.

“The rest is as they say, history,” Marianna said. “I didn’t plan a career in corrections or law enforcement for that matter, but I’m proud to have been given the opportunity to work with so many talented and dedicated individuals along the way.”

Thank you for your dedication to Alaskans, Marianna. We’re grateful for everyday of your service to this department, this state, and your community.

Are you a DOC employee interested in sharing your public service story? If so, email public information officer Megan Edge at megan.edge@alaska.gov.


Spring Creek donates fire engine to honor Virginia Ingersoll

In honor of Virginia Gail Ingersoll, Spring Creek inmates created this replica of the Moose Pass Fire Department’s fire engine.

Ingersoll was the board president of the Moose Pass Fire Department, and volunteered there, as well. Ingersoll was a dedicated public servant and member her community. On May 2, she passed away.

She’ll forever be missed.

DOC releases July drug seizure report

Our correctional officers work diligently everyday to keep drugs and other contraband out of our facilities. When drugs are discovered, our Professional Conduct Unit works with other law enforcement entities to build cases that go after traffickers.

Thank you to all of our COs and PCU investigators for helping to build a Safer Alaska.

Meet COIV Gail Smithhiser: How the DOC crew got their start in public service

This is Gail Smithhiser, a COIV at Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome. She’s been with the Department of Corrections since 2006, when she started as a CO I. But before that she was crowned Miss Arctic Native Brotherhood 2001. The same year, she was sent to participate in the Miss World Eskimo Indian Olympics in Fairbanks.

“Although I did not place, it was an amazing opportunity to show my public speaking and leadership abilities,” Smithhisler said.

Turns out, it runs in the family. He mother was crowned Miss Arctic Native Brotherhood in 1973 and her aunt was also crowned in 1975. (How cool is that?!)

When she began her career with us, she liked the idea of a week on, week off schedule. But after more than a decade, she says her appreciation for the job is much deeper than that.

“Once employed, I found that I enjoyed working with people and making sure that, at the end of the day, everyone was safe prior to being able to go home. What appealed to me about my current position was the challenge of working on difficult time accounting records and maintaining the Records department to ensure we were in compliance with Policy & Procedure and statute. I enjoy what I do and love the feeling of successfully overcoming difficult challenges with my position.”

So what has been her greatest lesson about public service?

“From my time working on shift, I was able to interact with many different people among our facility’s population. From that, I learned the importance of treating people with humanity. That didn’t mean being a sympathizer or giving people pity; it meant treating everyone with humaneness and using empathy to create a safer environment and atmosphere. Those of us in DOC are constantly observed by our populations and therefore, we have the greatest opportunity to demonstrate appropriate behavior in all types of situations. I learned that that meant talking with people, discussing making healthier and better life choices, acknowledging that the change they want to make is difficult but attainable, and making sure they knew how to be held accountable for their actions, just as I’m held accountable for mine. This type of public service is not for everyone, but you have a great opportunity to make a difference with very few chances of receiving acknowledgment or kudos.”

Thank you for your service Officer Smithhiser. Your service to Alaskans is invaluable, and we’re proud to call you one of ours!

Are you a DOC employee interested in sharing your public service story? If so, email public information officer Megan Edge at megan.edge@alaska.gov.

In Spring Creek running program, COs and inmates run side-by-side

“Early one morning in the yard at Spring Creek Correctional Center, an inmate approached Sgt. Justin Ennis. A group of fifteen men incarcerated at the institution had just completed an hour-long run around the yard, part of a program that gives inmates an opportunity to leave their cells early for a morning jog alongside correctional officers.”

Learn more in this story by the Seward Journal: https://www.sewardjournal.com/news/local/officers-inmates-run-side-by-side-at-spring-creek/article_7bea9ba0-a08c-11e8-b8c6-9b10dbb2edfe.html#utm_campaign=blox&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

Listen: Prison art market has its limits

“Spring Creek Correctional Center has a unique legal internal economy. The inmates run a prison store that sells food, hygiene items, and clothing. Profits from the store stay inside the facility and are divided up between nine different funds, including one that provides equipment for the hobby shop.”

Learn more about the hobby shop by listening to this story from the Solutions Desk at Alaska Public Media. Click, here: https://www.alaskapublic.org/2018/08/08/prison-art-market-has-its-limits/

Pt. Mackenzie Correctional Farm hosts annual BBQ

Superintendent Anderson and her incredible team at the Pt. Mackenzie Correctional Farm welcomed visitors from the community, as well as DOC employees and their families to the annual Pt. Mackenzie Farm picnic. Attendees enjoyed picnic foods prepared with fresh ingredients from the farm, hayrides, yard games, and a beautiful sunny day.

Point Mackenzie’s primary mission is to provide a transition between the traditional correctional center and the community for the offender. Point Mackenzie staff strive to compliment this transition through involving offenders in industrial, agricultural, service and technological oriented enterprise which can provide meaningful employment for them upon their release. Today’s picnic showcased these efforts.

Keep up the great work, Superintendent Anderson and team!