AK DOC Today

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

Hiland inmate pleads guilty to charges for distributing fentanyl

U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that an Anchorage woman, who is an inmate at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center (HMCC), pleaded guilty to distributing fentanyl to other inmates while in prison.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted the investigation, with assistance from DOC’s Professional Conduct Unit, which led to the charges in this case.

 

Kodiak event celebrates reentry successes

On March 16, 2018 PO III Jill Bunting and the Kodiak Area Mentor Program (KAMP) teamed up to hold the Second Annual Reentry Recognition Kodiak event at the Roy H. Madsen Justice Center in Kodiak, Alaska.

This year’s program started with Department of Corrections recognizing Threshold Recycling for their partnership in employing one of the speakers as an intern at their facility. Threshold Recycling has been a partner with Department of Corrections for decades as a community work service location. Last year Threshold took their involvement to the next level by employing one of the speakers as an intern and subsequently as a paid employee. Through this work experience, the individual was able to obtain full time employment at a local business. This individual had not previously worked for many years and at the time she started probation, she was not confident in her ability to obtain and maintain employment at all. Through the partnership with Threshold, this individual has returned to the workforce which has enriched her life financially and socially.

Thank you, Threshold Recycling!

Two local employers were also recognized for their partnership in reentry efforts. However, they humbly wished to remain anonymous, expressing the desire to continue to assist this population with no recognition.

Probation Officer Bunting presented their certificates of appreciation to Teresa Slaughter, Executive Director of Kodiak Area Mentor Program, to present to the employers privately.

Before the speakers took the podium, Probation Officer Bunting recognized Teresa Slaughter for her service as Kodiak Area Mentor Program founder and Executive Director. Teresa is leaving the island and her position will be taken over by Jonathan Strong.

Teresa, in partnership with Probation Officer Bunting, founded the Kodiak Area Mentor Program in May 2014. Since then the program has grown into a nonprofit networking organization that assists people through faith-based mentoring relationships in the Kodiak Jail, in the community, and through letter writing to individuals in prison.

Probation Officer Bunting began the next part of the program with an explanation of how this event to recognize reentry successes began in 2017 and how speakers are selected. The genesis of this event arose from a desire to recognize some individuals who, through their hard work and determination, have experienced successful completion of probation and far beyond that goal. This recognition has also proved valuable to the Court, law enforcement, the legal community and others who have interacted with these individuals and been a part of their journey. The qualifications to be a speaker at this event were: successful completion of probation, no criminal matters pending, employment, housing, transportation and living a changed life. Probation Officer Bunting emphasized that although public speaking is not comfortable for everyone, each of the speakers has an important message for the community and this is a skill that can help them communicate this. She explained that the speakers were invited months ago and coached by Kodiak Area Mentor Program mentors and other individuals to polish their speeches and make the most of the short time they had at the podium.

Four speakers told moving stories of how they worked to achieve sobriety and how their experiences have impacted their friends and families. Each speaker was given three minutes to address Judge Steve Cole and the members of the audience that packed the courtroom. They told their stories of recovery and victory over substance abuse. They recognized the people in their lives that helped them in their journey. Each speaker was presented with a Certificate of Achievement by Probation Officer Bunting.

Two of the four speakers have been participants in the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program (TBRA) while on probation supervision and through their success in that program they were able to qualify to receive other program assistance and have their own apartments.

After the speeches were presented the floor was turned over to Judge Cole who spoke to the audience and speakers about how moved he was at hearing each individual’s presentation.   Afterward, a reception was held with cookies, coffee and conversation where members of the audience could talk with the speakers individually and learn more about them.

Christmas Eve at Mat-Su Pretrial

On Christmas Eve, Chaplain Steve Alexander and his three sons Josiah, Seth and Levi stopped by MSPT to spread some Christmas cheer to our prisoner population. We went to each mod and sang Christmas Carols, read the Christmas story, prayed with the prisoners and gave out Christmas goodie bags. The prisoners received a Christmas bag filled with candy, a Christian track and a handwritten Christmas note from Mrs. Helen Riley.  They also received a bag of specially made Christmas cookies provided by the MSPT Kitchen staff.  A great time was had by all and it truly lifted the spirits of the prisoner population!

Mat-Su Pretrial staff honored at Palmer Elks Lodge banquet

On October 21, 2017, the following Mat-Su Pretrial (MSPT) staff were honored at the annual Palmer Elks Lodge Law, Order and Safety Banquet.

Officer Les McMichael was awarded MSPT Officer of the Year.

Les McMichael started with the Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC) in 1996 at the Spring Creek Correctional Center (SCCC). In 1999, he transferred to Cook Inlet Pretrial (CIPT). In 2008, he transferred to Mat-Su Pretrial.

Lt. Jan Jenski had this to say about Ofc. Les McMichael: “It is not the badges or the uniforms that maintain the stability in a facility such as MSPT, it is Officers like Les McMichael. Les has earned a reputation for being approachable, being kind and listening to people.”

SSgt. Ken Roediger was awarded MSPT Sergeant of the Year.

Ken Roediger started with DOC in 2004 at SCCC. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2014 at MSPT and became a shift supervisor.

SSgt. Roediger is an excellent leader, trainer and mentor. He treats the prisoners with respect.

One of his officers stated the following: “He is patient when it comes to everything that he does, from training Officers to dealing with inmates. The public, inmates and officers are safe when he is on shift.”

Nurse II Alex Miroshnick was awarded MSPT Medical Staff Member of the Year.

Alex started with DOC in 2000 at CIPT. He transferred to ACC in 2011 and ACO in 2013, where he worked for five months as a relief nurse.

In September 2013, Alex transferred to MSPT.

Alex is one of the most caring and compassionate people you can come across. He deals with emergencies with confidence and a calm demeanor. He treats the prisoner population with compassion, professionalism and consistency.

Each one of these staff members are an important part of the team here at MSPT. We are thankful we get to work with such talented and dedicated staff.

You are an asset to MSPT and the Department of Corrections. Thank you for all you do!

— Acting Superintendent Sheri Olsen

Fairbanks COs awarded first Commissioner’s Awards

Three Fairbanks correctional officers received the first ever Commissioner’s Awards last week.

On June 19, 2017, Staff Sergeant Mark Benoit, and Officers James Beaudreault and Daniel Welch worked together to coordinate surveillance efforts and report a suspicious vehicle and suspect on the Fairbanks Correctional Center’s premises to local law enforcement.

This information greatly assisted law enforcement’s pursuit of an armed suspect located in the wood line surrounding the facility.
Through the direction of Staff Sergeant Benoit to his officers and timely communication with local law enforcement the incident was brought to a safe conclusion.

Thank you for your dedicated service to this state.

 

Commissioner Williams visits Southwest fish processing plant, explores possibilities

Earlier this week, Commissioner Dean Williams had the opportunity to visit a fish processing plant in Ekuk, just outside of Dillingham, with the facility’s owner, Jerry Hall, and PO Rexford Spofford. Commissioner Williams is exploring the idea of allowing inmates, near the end of their sentence, an opportunity to work at the camp during the fishing season.

Employment remains an important strategy to reduce the high recidivism rate of returning citizens.

Koda: A busy dog

This is Koda. He’s been working his tail off for the people of Alaska. He might be officially team DOC, but he’s been assisting other law enforcement agencies to help keep drugs out of our communities. In just the last six weeks, he’s discovered 2,043 grams, or 4.5 pounds, of methamphetamine and 20 grams of heroin.

Who’s a good boy?!

Can Alaska learn from Norway’s ‘radically humane’ prisons?

Commissioner Dean Williams recently visited Norway, with other Alaska leaders, to see what the Scandinavian country’s prison system does different. Read about a few of his takeaways, here: https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/crime-courts/2017/10/10/can-alaska-learn-from-norways-radically-humane-prisons/

Haines police and DOC partner to ensure public safety and pretrial enforcement

Pictured from left to right: Heath Scott, Debra Schnabel, Dean Williams, Geri Miller-Fox, Jan Hill, and Heather Parker.

The Haines Borough Police Department and Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC) are officially collaborating to ensure public safety and enforcement of individuals who’ll be placed on pretrial supervision, following the launch of the department’s Pretrial Enforcement Division in January 2018.

On Wednesday, September 20, 2017, the two agencies stood side-by-side for the signing of the community’s jail contract. The contract is increasing by $31,000 to help supplement the Haines Borough Police Department in their efforts to assist DOC’s Pretrial Enforcement Division with data collection, risk assessments, and the monitoring of individuals placed on pretrial supervision.

“We’re extremely excited to put these agreements in place and it is especially meaningful to finalize the partnership with Haines Borough while they hosted the Southeast Conference,” said Pretrial Enforcement Division Director Geri Fox. “I look forward to collaborating with more local communities throughout Alaska.”

Communities everywhere reap greater benefits when state and local agencies can work together. For DOC and its pretrial division, partnering with law enforcement across Alaska was a natural and logical step. Partnerships with local law enforcement agencies will help identify and solve local challenges. These joint efforts will also help ensure that this new criminal justice function supports the department’s public safety priorities, and helps build a stronger and safer Alaska.

The Haines Borough is the first community to partner with the state in this effort, however others are expected to officially join in the next two months. Conversations to explore possible partnerships with other Alaska communities are ongoing. DOC will release information on other community partners, as contracts are signed.