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.
Despite rain, wind, and the occasional swarm of hungry yellow jackets, the Fairbanks Electronic Monitoring unit and LSSAT Aftercare Group held its first Annual Corn Hole (bag toss) Tournament and Barbeque on August 5, 2015 at the Chena Wayside Campground.
Spearheaded by EM supervisor Ron Winkelman and Probation Officer Zoe Sutton, the community activity was enthusiastically supported by DOC staff, LSSAT aftercare group attendees and electronic monitoring inmates alike. The tournament was the third such activity in which EM inmates who exhibited excellent performance while on EM had an opportunity to enjoy some downtime in the community all while being supervised by DOC staff. Inmates and DOC staff provided food and drinks as well as the necessary equipment to hold the tournament. In a dramatic turn of events, the EM team consisting of Joe Barnes and Joe Larson came charging out of the “loser’s bracket” to topple the undefeated duo of PO Winkelman and PO Sutton to take the title of corn hole champions.
At the conclusion of the evening, PO Winkelman and PO Sutton arrested a known absconder with a probation warrant who, unbeknownst to him, just happened to be wandering by the DOC sponsored event.
Prior activities hosted by the EM unit included glow putt golf and bowling; and just like the corn hole tournament, provided an opportunity for staff and returning citizens to connect on a more realistic level in the community rather than just through the typical office contact.
Congratulations to the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center GED/Vocation Graduates. This HMCC Graduation Vocation Programs included: Plumbing, Electrical, and Carpentry/Scaffolding courses awarded by Ilisagvik College. Certificates for six Apprenticeships and ten Pre-Apprenticeships were awarded through the US Department of Labor and the Alaska Vocational Technical Education Center (AVTEC). Hiland Mountain also celebrated the completion of six GED exams; the HMCC GED program is measured by the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) and the GED Ready Practice Tests.
Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) is one of the many rehabilitative programs currently offered at PCC. The dedicated RSAT staff provides services to 60 inmates at any given time. In addition to the basic RSAT program, PCC’s RSAT program includes 16 mentors, a pre-treatment and graduate program.
PCC Medium will soon be launching a new Dual Diagnosis program for those who have mental health needs as well as substance abuse treatment needs. PCC will soon be offering Intensive Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment (IOPSAT) formerly known as LSSAT, for those who have outpatient level needs.
The RSAT program is a unique integrated program that previously used the Moral Recognition Therapy (MRT) model. They are currently in the process of transitioning their program to the Hazeldon curriculum to offer an even more dynamic approach to meeting treatment needs. This integrated approach includes placing more senior clients in roles with responsibility such as senior resident, group facilitator, and/or mentorship positions in order to help build personal pride and accountability as well as problem solving and leadership skills.
After completing the RSAT program many inmates choose to stay and participate in either the graduate program or give back to the therapeutic community by working as a mentor or facilitator.
RSAT helps inmates to address many of the rehabilitative needs identified in their Offender Management Plans (OMP). It also helps to prepare them for a more successful transition to the community.
RSAT graduations are big events that occur on a quarterly basis and an enjoyed by all staff whether or not they are involved in the RSAT program. Our most recent graduation presented 22 graduates; however, a total of 45 prisoners were successful, many of whom had already received a furlough or electronic monitoring placement. Graduations are a time to celebrate successes and encourage continued healthy practices.
Mr. Daniel Davis Program Director
Ms. Valerie Demientieff Primary Counselor
Mr. Sean Culp Primary Counselor
Ms. Kerri Pittman Primary Counselor
Ms. Echo Wyche Primary Counselor
Ms. Amanda Semenza Floor Counselor
-RSAT Program Overview: Composed by POII Jessica Smith
The Goose Creek Correctional Center’s vocational programs are in full swing and growing. Earlier this year GCCC added a “NCCER Heavy Equipment Stimulator Level 1-3” using the National Center for Construction Education Research (NCCER) curriculum guideline for Heavy Equipment Operations (HEO) and personal computer-based simulators developed by Simlog, Inc.
GCCC began its first “NCCER Heavy Equipment Simulator” course with six trainees in January 2015. After 4 months, the first group of trainees took the final exam in May 2015 with all six completing and passing the final program—congratulations!
“We see proof that an inmate’s experience and muscle memory from the simulators will decrease the learning curve when completing his training on real equipment on the outside,” said Gary Olsen, Criminal Justice Planner of Education.
On July 12-15, Simlog, Inc. representatives will be presenting the DOC-GCCC success story at the Annual Correctional Education Association's 70th International Conference and Training Event in Arlington, Virginia. Thanks to Gary and his team, as well as GCCC Superintendent John Conant and his crew for providing this great resource to our six trainees. This is how reentry and recidivism reduction will become a reality—laying one “brick” at a time!
A few weeks ago DC Casto toured a not-for-profit work release center for women located in Indianapolis, Indiana. One program they have adapted for the women of Craine House is a class modeled on the national Inside-Out Prison Exchange program from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This version of the program is a partnership between university students and the women living at Craine House to discuss readings that focus on issues of poverty, social policy, drug use, abuse and a myriad of factors that impact the lives of incarcerated women. The next step was having the women construct stories of their lives, showing the events, trauma and misfortunes that led to the criminal justice system. Ultimately, the power of writing their personal stories, helped transform these women into strong, determine and productive citizens. I share with you my favorite poem from the book In it together…writings from the inside out.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Take her away, I don’t like her at all
Take away the bruised and broken girl I used to see
Bring back the other girl, that’s the real me
I like the girl with the smile and bright eyes
I like the me that doesn’t hurt inside
For the first time in a long time I saw her today
I had to smile back and ask her to stay
She looked determined, not defeated and frail She looked so strong, not weak and pale Mirror, mirror keep her around She is not lost, she has been found ~Ashley, 2013
Recovery and Supports for Women Involved with the Criminal Justice System
This webinar centers on the unique experiences, barriers to recovery and re-entry into society, that women often face during and after incarceration. Experts will address the experiences, needs, and resiliency of women involved with the correctional system, along with effective interventions, programs, policies, and partnerships to help women rebuild their lives. This presentation is designed for anyone working with women who have experienced incarceration, including community and in-custody treatment and recovery service providers.
July 23, 2015 at 3:00-4:30 PM ET (11:00 AM Alaska Time).
Click on the link below to register!
Earn 1.5 Continuing Education Hours from the National Board for Certified Counselors or NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, continuing education credits.
Join the discussion about women's behavioral health on social media with hashtag #womenmatter2015.
The Alaska DHSS Division of Behavioral Health, in collaboration with DOC, has awarded a re-entry services contract to Partners for Progress in Anchorage. The goal of this contract will be reached through collaboration with the community to provide needs-based services prioritized to high-risk offenders. The purpose of this Anti-Recidivism contract is to reduce the number of repeat crimes by former offenders in Alaska, thereby protecting the public, reducing public expenditures for incarceration and related costs, and providing a model for other collaborative re-entry programs in Alaska. The proposed services will reduce recidivism in the Anchorage re-entry population, increase active participation of community partners in the Anchorage re-entry initiative, and increase the number of partners and participants in the Anchorage re-entry community. It is anticipated that approximately 800 people in the Anchorage community will receive re-entry services through this contract. Services will include: case management, comprehensive community support services, referral to treatment, job readiness/job search services, and assistance toward obtaining safe, sober, and stable housing. Employment and stable housinghave been identified as major factors affecting re-entry and are the main two elements of this program. For further information please contact Alysa Wooden, DBH Re-Entry Coordinator Alysa.Wooden@alaska.gov or (907) 264-0641.
Partnering for reentry success! The DOC, Department of Labor and the Alaska Heavy Equipment Operators Local 302 worked together to bring skills training, mentoring, coaching and confidence to six (6) Hiland Mountain Correctional Center students! “302’s” Administrator/Director Mike Holcomb and his team of instructors provided these six (6) HMCC women with the opportunity to receive pre-apprentice classes, gaining skills that are priceless in terms of employability upon release. On June 26 these six women graduated from the FY15 Heavy Equipment Local 302 Pre-Apprentice Program! Congratulations to each and every one of you and a big thank you to DOL and Local 302 for this opportunity and partnership. Thanks also to Gary Olsen DOC’s Criminal Justice Planner of Education. Way to go!
Housing security is a critical element to all aspects of our Prisoner Reentry Initiative. Please join this upcoming webinar discussing housing quality, stability and affordability!
Who’s Leading the Leading Health Indicators? Webinar: Social Determinants!
Register Now | July 23, 2015 | 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. ET
Health starts in our homes, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, and communities. Social determinants of health are social and environmental conditions that shape a wide range of health, functioning, and quality of life outcomes. This Who’s Leading the Leading Health Indicators? webinar will highlight housing security a key social determinant of health.
Join on Thursday, July 23 to learn more about this important social determinant, including how housing quality, stability, and affordability impact health and educational outcomes. You will also hear about interventions and resources that can help address housing insecurity in your community.