AK DOC Reentry

Re-entry Recognition Kodiak

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(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!”

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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.

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.

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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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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