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Goose Creek Correctional Center Moving Into Operational Phase

Goose Creek Correctional Center cell block.

Goose Creek Correctional Center cell block.

PHOTO: Stefan Hinman/MSB

Mat-Su— On Friday, July 13, members of the media were invited to visit the newly constructed Goose Creek Correctional Center (GCCC) as the Department of Corrections (DOC) prepares to bring in 128 inmates to the facility. Starting the week of July 16, 2012,  DOC's first quarter FY13 ramp-up plan will begin with 76 minimum security inmates being transfered from the Point MacKenzie Correctional Farm, with an additional 52 minimum and medium security inmates coming mainly from Palmer Correctional Center and the Anchorage Correctional Complex. Each quarter will see more inmates added, culminating with the return of 635 inmates to Alaska, currently being housed in Hudson, Colorado.

“By the end of the first quarter of 2014 we’ll have all of the prisoners back from out of state,” DOC Commissioner Joe Schmidt said.

Recruiting and training for positions is underway now and will continue as GCCC implements its phased ramp-up plan. When fully operational, it will employ a staff of up to 345. Initially, a staff of only 95 will be needed to run the high-tech facility. They’ll be comprised of 56 security staff, two probation officers, 19 administrative-food service-maintenance staff, six nurses and one mental health clinician.

By gradually ramping up, it will give the DOC a chance to fill all staff positions. Schmidt says he likes the progress so far.
“We’re very happy with the number of staff coming in and the rate they’re coming in.”

Rehabilitation is a major focus for this prison, which will help inmates reintegrate into society.  Substance Abuse Services and Vocational Education opportunities are just some of the ways the prison will help get inmates back on their feet. Additionally, Schmidt says accountability will be built into the inmate’s daily routine.GCCC bunk

“They’ll be accountable to get their mail from the prisoner post office, they’re going to go to the laundry, they’re going to go to the chow hall, they’re going to go somewhere for count. We’re not going to bring all these services to the prisoner.”

Exercise will be accomplished through more than just recreational activities. Inmates will also be required to do all mowing and snow removal by using non-powered push mowers and shovels.

The Mat-Su Borough cooperated with the State to build the prison and will be financed with payments from the State through 25 annual lease payments. Schmidt said the partnership with the  Mat-Su Borough went smoothly.

“I think I would describe the relationship as fantastic. It’s been very good to work with the Borough. I can’t think of any issues that came up that we couldn’t resolve.”

Schmidt says the building is looking good and is ready to go.

“We’re very happy with the operation and function and we’re ready to move ahead.” 

All photos taken by Stefan Hinman.

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