AK DOC Today

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

Probation Officers step up in emergency situation

On March 17 Probation Officers Neil Fulks and Eileen Farrar were following leads on an offender who had absconded when they overheard a police report indicating a medical emergency on the same street they were on. Listening to the dispatcher, they heard an individual had stopped breathing at which point they broke from their field work and rushed to the residence. Through training, they cleared the individual’s airway and the person started breathing again. It is clear they did an outstanding job being aware of their location and the radio traffic, and then responding to an emergency situation.

— reported by Chief Probation Officer Keith Thayer

Charles Moses honored for Parole Board service

Charles Moses was celebrated upon his retirement from the Board of Parole on April 6th in Anchorage. Moses was appointed by Governor Tony Knowles in 1997 and he was appointed chair by Governor Sarah Palin in 2008. Previously, Moses had a 25-year career with the Department of Corrections, retiring as Director of the South central Region.

Inmate volunteers clear trash from Glenn Highway

Inmate volunteers from the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center collected over 1600 pounds of trash along the Glenn Highway in early May. The facility has formally agreed to adopt the section of highway between the South and North Birchwood exits. This section encompasses approximately 3.4 miles of road; it covers the median and both sides of the highway. A crew will be out at least one day per week until the entire area has been cleared of trash. After the initial cleaning, the crew will revisit the area periodically throughout the summer.

The road crews one part of the prison’s community work service commitments for this summer. Inmate volunteers will be cleaning trails at Mirror Lake, Schoeder Park and Peters Creek Parks and will perform maintenance and cleaning at Clare House and for Habitat for Humanity.

Service dog candidate on its way to Eagle River

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A puppy donated by a breeder in Illinois is on its way to Hiland Mountain Correctional Center where it will be the newest Service Dog In Training. The puppy donation is fruit borne of an informal meeting between staff of HMCC, organizers of Arctic Paws for Service, and Sr. Paulina Quinn of Pathways to Hope. The puppy will come to Alaska from Dwight Correctional Center, where a Service Dog Training program is in place. The puppy is a Labrador. “He has white on his front and probably this is why he was not kept for show,” said Sr. Paulina in an email. “He has spunk when he plays. He hadn’t been on a leash before but handled everything. He lights up when he sees other dogs. He is quiet, just taking everything in without showing fear.” The puppy is expected in Alaska before April 15.

Anchorage Probation Officers undertake major drug arrest

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On March 24, Probation officers from Anchorage Probation Enhanced Supervision Unit went to the residence of one of their offenders. The offender was not at home, but was seen walking down the street. He entered the residence and denied the officers access. After several minutes and a request for assistance from APD and the canine unit, the offender opened his apartment door and walked out to the probation officers. He was restrained and returned to the residence for a probation search. The search was initiated and cocaine was found in a kitchen drawer. The search was terminated and APD returned with a search warrant. The search continued and $30,000 cash and cocaine were found. The offender was remanded and the case was forwarded for new criminal offenses through either the state or federal court.

Approximately 18 months ago, officers of the same Enhanced Supervision Unit were instrumental in another drug bust and through the Asset Forfeiture program with the US Government, the Division of Probation and Parole just received $40,000 as their share of the forfeited money and assets. The Division Director and Supervisor of the ESU are currently in negotiations for how the money should or will be spent.

Meeting on Service Dog Training held at HMCC

A meeting on the topic of training service dogs in a prison setting was held at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center on March 22. Much of the focus was on meeting folks involved in a new organization established to increase the availability of service dogs for Alaskans who could benefit from their assistance. HMCC has a remarkable home-grown program in place which has trained 5 service dogs so far, all of whom have been given to wounded soldiers. The meeting provided an opportunity for HMCC staff to meet Sr. Paulina Quinn, who has established service dog training programs in prisons across the nation.

DOC presence boosts Choose Respect rally in Seward

Some 30 staff from the department’s central office and Spring Creek Correctional Center helped lead a large turnout for Thursday’s ‘Choose Respect’ rally and march in Seward on Thursday, March 31. Presenters included Division Directors Donna White (Probation and Parole) and Garland Armstrong (Institutions), Superintendent Craig Turnbull, and Lt. Bob Lockeby. About 100 residents turned out for the event, designed to bring attention to Alaska’s high rates of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Success Inside and Out

The annual Success Inside and Out professional pre-release conference was held Saturday, March 5, at Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau. Just under 100 inmates attended, with about an equal number of community volunteers and professional staff present for the event, held in the facility’s gymnasium. The day included musical entertainment, a panel of former inmates, breakout sessions with local employers, treatment providers and advocates. The afternoon began with a fashion show where inmates modeled dress appropriate for a job interview or the workplace. Afternoon panels focused on education and training. Deputy Commissioner Carmen Gutierrez attended, along with Chief Justice Walter Carpeneti.