Tag: Solutions Desk prison reform

Many crimes are fueled by drug and alcohol addictions. So what can prevent some criminal activity? Helping people receive treatment. During Community in Unity: Recovery Behind Bars, inmates, staff, and other community members gathered inside Goose Creek Correctional Center near Wasilla to share stories about treatment, crime, and recovery.

On the next Talk of Alaska we're stepping outside of the studio and into Goose Creek Correctional Center. During the special, pre-recorded episode inmates at the prison speak with community members about substance use treatment. It's a chance to hear from people who can't call in but have something to say.

At Goose Creek Correctional Center near Wasilla, inmates can learn the basic concepts of welding using simulators, but until recently they haven't been allowed access to real welding machines. Listen now

Some people stay at Fairbanks Correctional Center for a few days. Others are at the pre-trial facility for years. Most of the inmates are living their lives in limbo — awaiting their trials and their futures. During Community in Unity: Life in Limbo, inmates, correctional center staff, and other community members sit together for an open conversation about the justice system, day-to-day life at FCC, and what's happening on the outside to help people who are released.

People waiting for trial often sit in jail for days or weeks just because they can't make bail. Starting this month, that system is changing. The state is launching a new effort to reduce the amount of time people spend locked up before they've gone to trial. It's part of SB91, Alaska's criminal justice reform law. LISTEN HERE

Dean Williams, the commissioner of the Department of Corrections, acknowledges it's easy to access illegal drugs in prison in Alaska. He says his department is trying to stop it.

Most people who go to prison in Alaska will eventually be released. To be successful on the outside, they need to develop new skills and outlooks. But what's happening behind the walls to make that possible? Join us for a community conversation with inmates and staff at Spring Creek Correctional Center near Seward on Sept. 26 at 7 pm. LISTEN HERE
Goose Creek Prison. Photo by Ellen Lockyer, KSKA - Anchorage.

In 2016, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 91 -- an omnibus criminal justice reform bill. Now, just over a year later, some are blaming the law for increases in crime and calling for its repeal. Join us for Talk of Alaska as we explore what SB 91 actually does, and what factors could be influencing crime rates in the state. Listen Here

The Department of Corrections is the largest mental health care provider in the state, and the administrators at Spring Creek Correctional Center want to make it one of the most effective, too. They’re treating inmates who have mental illnesses with new innovations, like "porches" and paintings.

How do you change who you are when you live in a world that constantly says you're bad? Take a lot of classes.
Goose Creek Prison. Photo by Ellen Lockyer, KSKA - Anchorage.

Almost everyone who goes to prison will eventually be released, but without the proper support network, many will likely re-offend. Organizations, individuals, and the Department of Corrections are trying to change that. Listen Here

Staying calm and taking responsibility are some of the keys to success both inside and outside of prison. But sometimes it takes more than a person to teach that. Meet the dogs of Wildwood Correctional Center in Kenai.

In Alaska, two-thirds of people who leave prison end up going back within three years. But former inmates who can find decent jobs within a year of release are half as likely to re-offend. So how does the Department of Corrections want to cut recidivism? By teaching the trades.

The Department of Corrections and the ACLU are working together to reform the department’s solitary confinement practices. They brought in a team of experts from New York University to tour facilities and their segregation units this week and develop suggestions that will improve conditions for both inmates and staff. Listen now

Point Mackenzie Correctional Farm in Wasilla produces food for prisons around the state and donates thousands of pounds of produce to the Food Bank. But some say the most important thing is helping the inmates find direction. Download Audio

Restarting life after prison is full of challenges -- but also successes. In the village of Tyonek on Cook Inlet, one man recreates himself and gives back to the community he once hurt.

People around the U.S. who are leaving prison all face similar challenges. Sometimes it’s harder to find work or a place to live when you have a criminal history. But some people from rural Alaska face a unique barrier: their conditions of parole prevent them from going home. Download Audio

Most people leaving prison have to find a job fairly quickly both to support themselves and to meet their parole requirements. Their job searches can be more complicated than most because of the stigma of having a criminal history, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Download Audio

One of the first stops for everyone leaving prison is the Probation and Parole Office in downtown Anchorage. People are required to check in within 24 hours of release. Parole officers have two major roles: law enforcers and social workers. Both help keep the community safe.

It’s 6:45 a.m. and 43-year-old April Wilson waits inside the entrance of Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River. It’s her first day out after two and a half years in prison. Her long dark hair is perfectly curled, her eye makeup sparkles, and her piles of papers and decorations are gathered in a clear plastic garbage bag. “Let’s blow this joint!” she jokes. Download Audio