KSRM 920 AM Interview with Alaska Department of Corrections Wildwood Work Release Program's Thomas Lorah and Kenai Peninsula Business Everything Bagels talking about how the program's success is spreading around.
KSRM 920AM Interview: Talking Everything Bagels (7838939 bytes, video/3gpp)
Thomas Lorah is our latest participant in the Vocational Work Release Program at Alaska Department of Corrections Wildwood Correctional Complex. He was sentenced in 2012 and sent to WCC where he has remained. He completed a 6000 hour DOL Apprenticeship Program in Baking, completed several NCCER programs, Substance Abuse Treatment as well as a participant in the summer work release program at the cannery.
We contacted a new company in Soldotna, Everything Bagels, about a possible job placement for him a few months ago. They were eager to have him come work for them in the their new store, opening up in Kenai. He is their primary baker for this location. During the soft opening, everything sold out in less than 5 hours, before the lunch rush even started.
Several DOC employees went to the opening to support our newest participant and business (could be the reason they sold out so fast).
Thomas is extremely happy and loves what he is doing and it shows. He had a smile on his face the whole time. It was a perfect fit for both the employer and the employee.
This is Bill Bass, a Alaska Department of Corrections & Cordova Center resident who just graduated last night from the Downtown Soup Kitchen Hope Center Feed Me Hope Culinary Art School.
Bill was part of the first (12 week) class in this program that taught food preparation/cooking and also included life skills training. He had his first interview last week at a local restaurant.
Bill told us that the class gave him focus, but that more importantly these people became his family.
Six Alaska Department of Corrections residents at Cordova Center are being interviewed for the next class.
Check out this KTUU Channel 2 News story on Wildwood Correctional's Work Release Program that is helping prisoners re-enter society successfully
Check out this Alaska Dispatch News story on why fewer inmates are walking away from halfway houses in the Alaska Department of Corrections
Check out this KTUU Channel 2 News story on Alaska Department of Corrections success in halfway houses
Check out Alaska Department of Corrections Commisioner Dean Williams talking on a Facebook Live Chat on January 12, 2017
Alaska Department of Corrections Inmate Danielle Christescu talks about how DOC & GEO Group's Midtown Center staff are helping her transition successfully back into society.
Alaska Department of Corrections Inmate Willie Roundtree talks about how DOC & Geo Group's Cordova Center staff are helping him transition successfully back into society.
The first week of Probation Officer Academy #27 included a half day of training with Probation Officer Morgen Jaco discussing the Alaska Prisoner Reentry Initiative. Upon conclusion of the classroom presentation, Officers were encouraged to meet the providers. PO Jaco did a wonderful job organizing a Community Resource Venue that hosted 19 agencies that provide services to returning citizens. Probation officers attending the academy in addition to field and institutional officers from surrounding areas were invited to participate. Officers were able to gather information, speak with service providers directly and ask questions to expand their knowledge concerning what resources are available to assist them in the future.
This event aids officers in understanding their role concerning reentry and identifying community partners within their areas. The representative agencies were able to engage in a two way dialog with new probation officers to facilitate future communications and coordination of services.
Thank you to Probation Officer Jaco for coordinating this event that brought our services providers to one location.
Goose Creek’s ReEntry Program had the opportunity to host a Peer to Peer Presentation with local agencies and the McShin Foundation coming together to share a common theme of “Hope” when trying to overcome substance abuse. John Shinholser, the President of the McShin Foundation, shared his mission of delivering hope to recovering addicts and alcoholics along their journey to a healthier life. He brought along Kara Nelson from the Haven House and the Juneau ReEntry Coalition, Christina Love from Juneau’s Aware Shelter, and Donteh Devoe from Cook Inlet Tribal Council’s recovery services.
All four presenters took turns sharing the lows of an addictive past through the turmoil of change. This change included overcoming guilt, shame, fear, and finding self-worth. They explained that the journey is not easy, but with an open mind and a spiritual awakening, sobriety is possible. They no longer feared success and owned their own choices, getting to a point where substance abuse was no longer consuming their lives. Kara spoke of the anger she once had and realization that the little things matter if you want a positive future. Christina shared how she once felt happiness could be bought and sadness covered up. Donteh expressed how family can play a huge role in the direction we take and his desire to change his legacy. Finally, John shared his years in the military and the challenges he had to face and overcome to get his life on track.
In the end, they all discussed the accomplishments they have achieved and how bright their futures look. How baby steps can lead one on a journey never imagined and feel happier and content on this path then any amount of drugs or alcohol could ever take them. The presentation left many with a feeling of optimism that they too can successfully return to their communities and join together to make a difference in other returning citizen’s lives.
New Path High School, located within the Anchorage Correctional Complex and Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, has had a great 2015. Our students have the opportunity to use their time while incarcerated constructively, and to earn a high school diploma from the Anchorage School District. We’ve awarded diplomas to 28 students this year, and have provided services to over 120 inmates. In addition to making progress academically, our students plan for life after incarceration, and discover strengths and interests that they may not have known they had.
Here’s what one of our recent graduates (shown in the picture), of whom we are extremely proud of, had to say about the program: “New Path is a great program that can be very effective if you take advantage of it. I never thought that I would graduate because I was so far behind on credits, but with a lot of effort, I got my diploma. The teachers were very encouraging and very helpful. Now I have a better chance at achieving my goal of a career in carpentry. My chances of being accepted into AVTEC are a lot higher than they were before. This program has given me a better and brighter future. I can’t thank the staff enough.”
The New Path High School staff would like to thank the Department of Corrections for their continued support of what we feel is an important and beneficial program. We’re looking forward to another great year.
On October 23, 2015, Fairbanks Electronic Monitoring participants' Michael Dark and Katherine Eisenman and probationer Andrea Moutrey completed Tier 1 of the Food Service Job Training program offered by Bread Line Inc. This 12 week long “Stones Throw” program is the first of two Tiers with final graduation expected in mid-December. Probation officer’s Ron Winkelman and Zoe Sutton look forward to attending this important moment in their lives as well. Participants attend class Monday through Friday for approximately 6 hours each day. Not only do they learn culinary skills, but learn life skills that help them to reenter society as employable and better rounded individuals. Without the financial cooperation of Vocational Rehabilitation, this type of training for these individuals would be difficult to obtain. Thank you to Jennifer Jolis, Executive Director, and Chef Sara Sedriks for your support and guidance in this valuable program.
Congratulations to Michael, Katherine, and Andrea!
The skillful craftsmanship of four inmates at the Spring Creek Correctional Center woodshop produced this model of a firetruck for the Annual Firefighter Conference. Inmates Donald Seek, Carl Abhul, Kirby Anthoney, and Randall Smith created and donated this auction item made at the SCCC woodshop. Note the intricate wood detail from a replica of the 1933 Seagrave fire truck. Notice also the ivory steering wheel, stick shifter and pike pole (on the side).
The joint 2015 Alaska State Firefighters Association and Alaska Fire Chiefs Association (ASFA/AFCA) annual conference was held this year in Seward, Alaska, from September 28th through October 3rd. The conference provides training and education to Alaska’s emergency responders. This handcrafted truck was sold in a silent auction held during the Awards Banquet for this event.
The Alaska Department of Corrections is working hard to reduce recidivism. Working with community resources to successfully prevent former inmates from re-offending after being released. This article presents the challenges of an inmate losing connections with family, employment, health services, housing, and education among others. The reduction or loss of theses social factors contribute to the unstable reentry of former inmates back in to society. “Who Pays?” presents data from across the whole nation as well as the stories of formerly incarcerated individuals and sums up with recommendations of reforming current trends of repeat criminals. This report aims to shed light on the detrimental effects of incarceration on the punished criminal as well as the ripple effects to the communities of these individuals. Reports such as these help to present evidence-based reform tactics to be considered in projects such as the Alaska Department of Corrections Recidivism Reduction Plan.