AK DOC Today

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

Director Houston in Unalaska for ‘Choose Respect’ Rally

Sponsored by Unalaskans Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence, the Choose Respect event in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor was held on March 31 at Unalaska High School. The rally was combined with an Annual Soup-a-Thon where community members bring crock pots filled with delicious soups and the soups are judged by a panel in each category: Exotic, Vegetarian, Seafood, Chowders and Stews, Chilis, and Youth Open Category. The winning soup chefs are presented with a $50 gift certificate. In addition to the Soup-off, the event is a fundraiser for the local shelter with donated items for silent and live auctions as well as door prize drawings. The shelter raised $14,000 in funds. Director of Administrative Services Leslie Houston attended as representative of the Administration.

Director Ron Taylor addresses ‘Choose Respect’ Rally in Nenana

Ron Taylor, Director of the Division of Probation and Parole, along with Gail Brimner with the department’s Victim Services Unit attended the ‘Choose Respect’ rally on Thursday March 29 in Nenana. About 400 of the community’s 600 residents took part, with Director Taylor addressing the gathering. Hosting the event was 18-year-old Brianna Ketzler who obtained a grant for blue t-shirts to distribute to participating students and community members. The community hosted a pot-luck after the event.

Kodiak Probation Officer works with local police K9 ‘Max’

In cases where offenders have search conditions that include a search for controlled substances, Kodiak Probation Officer Jill Bunting sometimes requests the assistance of the Kodiak Police Department K-9 Unit (which consists of Officer Mike Barnett and Max the K-9). Utilizing the K-9 for searches for controlled substances greatly reduces the amount of time that it takes to search.

“It makes us much more efficient with our use of time,” said Bunting. “Typically we meet at the station to discuss the offender, the location, the residence itself, the vehicles, and the other subjects who reside at that location. After the planning has been done and we report to the offender’s residence, Officer Barnett interviews the offender about some safety issues that could affect Max (harmful products he might encounter for instance). When the residence has been cleared of any safety issues, Officer Barnett works with Max while I interview the offender.”

The K-9 Unit is used to conduct searches of residences, vehicles, and outbuildings. Once the established areas have been searched by Max, if he has indicated on anything, then Officer Barnett and PO III Bunting hand search the areas of indication in order to locate any controlled substances.

“There have been instances where door panels have been removed from vehicles and the controlled substances were located behind them. Max is extremely agile, able to get atop tables and other structures with ease,” Bunting said. “Having the benefit of only hand searching the areas where we know, based upon Max’s indication, that there are in fact controlled substances, allows us more time to conduct home visits and accomplish other work as we do not have to spend time hand searching the entire location.”

Max is a Belgian Malinois.

Ketchikan Correctional Center earns director’s audit kudos

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Division Director Bryan Brandenburg announced Ketchikan Correctional Center is the winner of the 2012 Directors Audit Award of Excellence.

“They exemplified the standard of excellence as the most outstanding facility in the Division,” Brandenburg said. “This past year the Audit team visited all facilities utilizing a standardized Audit tool which reviews 21 operational standards, cleanliness of the facility, staff professionalism and overall adherence to the Department’s mission. Anvil Mountain and Palmer Correctional Center were both in serious contention but KCC edged them in the final tally. I would like to also recognize and congratulate all the employees involved in this year’s audit process and look forward to the 2013 Director’s Audit scheduled for the summer of 2013.”

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.

Jessica Mathews named Superintendent at Ketchikan Correctional Center

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Division Director Bryan Brandenburg has promoted Probation Supervisor Jessica Mathews to Superintendent of Ketchikan Correctional Center. “With over 23 years of correctional experience both in Florida and Alaska she brings a wealth of knowledge to this position,” Director Brandenburg said. Mathews began her career as a correctional officer in Florida and then moved to Alaska where she worked as an institutional and field probation officer. She was later promoted to supervisor of the Ketchikan Field Probation Office where she has worked for the past nine years (seven as supervisor).

Success Inside and Out a success at LCCC

The annual Success Inside and Out Conference held at Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau on Saturday March 3 drew over 30 community volunteers and around 55 inmates. Featured speakers included Deputy Commissioner Carmen Gutierrez, Chief Justice Walter Carpeneti and Senator Dennis Egan. Inmates also heard a presentation from a panel of former inmates, moderated by Judge Keith Levy. Pizzas (lunch) were donated by Bullwinkles. Afternoon sessions included a demonstration of how to dress for a job interview, and break-out discussion tables covering topics from employment to healthy relationships.