Friday Jun 23, 2017

Re-entry Recognition Kodiak

kodiak.png (Left to right: Will Davis, Shawn Olsen, Erica Delacruz Sanchez, Joan Sison, and Alison Thomas. Judge Steve Cole.) On June 2, 2017, PO III Jill Bunting and the Kodiak Area Mentor Program (KAMP) held the first Re-Entry Recognition Kodiak event. Invitations were sent out to individuals in the legal community, employer community, and housing community. Due to security requirements -- as the courthouse is closed Friday afternoons -- this event was limited to invitation-only participants. The qualifications to be a speaker at this event were: successful completion of probation, employment, housing, transportation, and living a changed life. Five speakers were on the agenda. Each speaker was given three minutes to address Judge Steve Cole and the members of the audience. They told their stories of recovery and victory over substance abuse. They recognized the people in their lives that helped them in their journey. Three of the five speakers were participants in the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program (TBRA), and some went on to own their own homes. Robenett Sagalkin, Asset Supervisor for the Kodiak Office of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, was in the audience to hear the stories of these individuals. She had this to say, “Today, I was invited to attend one of the most heartwarming recognitions/celebrations that I have ever been a part of in my years of working with AHFC!! Five local individuals, all who have served time on felony probation, were allowed to share their success stories and to acknowledge the programs and people in our community who have led to their success. Each of the five …started nervously at the podium in Courtroom A, where they had previously been sentenced for their crimes at one time, by thanking Superior Court Judge Steve Cole for his hand in their successes. Each of them were participants of the Department of Corrections Kodiak Probation and Parole; each them are currently participating members in Kodiak Area Mentor Program, which is a 3-year-old nonprofit that is making huge strides in the success rate for those re-entering society; and three of the 5 are former TBRA/PAR-SW successful participants!! They openly shared their appreciation for the help, stability and support that our program gave them!! Three out of the five, (which includes two TRBA) have moved on to permanent employment and HOME OWNERSHIP!!!!!!! I must say, that their personal stories and accomplishments moved many to tears.....includ(ing) Judge Cole!” Major Dave Davis of the Kodiak Salvation Army attended and sent the following email after the event, “WOW! How impressive is your Mentoring program in making a difference for both the recipients and those who lend support. An excellent bridge that was sorely needed when I was here before and to see the many aspects, like a spider web of love catching those who might otherwise fall through the cracks. SALUTE!” kodiak 3.png 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. Judge Cole acknowledged the agencies represented in the room (Kodiak Area Mentor Program, District Attorney’s Office, Pubic Defender Agency, Threshold Recycling, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Borough Mayor and employer Dan Rohrer, Kodiak Police Department, Alaska State Troopers, and others) for working together to address the needs of the community of Kodiak and the individuals with whom they interact. Afterward, a reception was held with a celebration cake, coffee, and conversation. This event was deemed a success and we look forward to presenting more success stories to the court and the community in the future.
Wednesday Feb 01, 2017

KSRM 920 AM Radio Interview: Talking Everything Bagels

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.

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KSRM 920AM Interview: Talking Everything Bagels (7838939 bytes, video/3gpp)

Monday Jan 30, 2017

Win Win Situation for Wildwood Inmate and Kenai Peninsula Business

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.

thomas lorah 2017.jpg everything bagels-sold out.jpg

Friday Jan 20, 2017

Feed Me Hope Culinary Art School Graduation

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.

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Wednesday Jan 18, 2017

New Kenai program aims to help prisoners re-enter society, KTUU Channel 2 News

Check out this KTUU Channel 2 News story on Wildwood Correctional's Work Release Program that is helping prisoners re-enter society successfully

Dept. of Corrections sees success at halfway houses, KTUU Channel 2 News

Check out this KTUU Channel 2 News story on Alaska Department of Corrections success in halfway houses

DOC Commissioner Dean Williams Facebook Live Chat - January 12, 2017

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 Reentry

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 & Geo Group Cordova Center Reentry Success

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.

Wednesday Jan 20, 2016

Training Academy Host Community Resource Day

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.

Wednesday Dec 30, 2015

GCCC hosts Peer to Peer Recovery Presentation

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.

Tuesday Dec 29, 2015

New Path High School

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.

2015 New Path High School Graduate

2015 New Path High School Graduate

Monday Nov 16, 2015

Fairbank’s Electronic Monitoring Food Service Job Training

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!

Photo of Food Services Job Training Program
Monday Oct 12, 2015

Inmates at SCCC Woodshop Craft Model Firetruck Replica for a Firefighters Training Event

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.