Tag: Solutions Desk prison reform

Being incarcerated is hard. So is being released. How are people from rural Alaska connecting with their communities and their cultures while in prison, and preparing for what’s next? Listen to a conversation at Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome.

At Spring Creek Correctional Center, the prison store funds the clubs. The clubs fund the hobby shop. And the hobby shop creates an outlet for growth but only limited options for making money - right now.

The world inside Spring Creek Correctional Center is in many ways just like the world outside. Prison clubs function as nonprofits, filling service gaps and trying to build healthier communities.

Prison commissaries around the country make millions each year, and most of the profits go to private companies. But not at Spring Creek Correctional Center, where the prisoners own and operate the store and use the profits to benefit the communities inside and outside the prison walls.

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.

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