DOC programming, victim services at risk if government shuts down

Published: Jun. 8, 2017 at 1:38 PM AKDT
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A lack of a budget for the state of Alaska makes it difficult for the Department of Corrections and other state agencies to plan for the future.

Commissioner Dean Williams said the Department of Corrections is working with the Department of Law to determine the effects of a government shutdown on employees, inmates and the community.

"I don't want to speculate on what might happen in that arena," Williams said, "but I will say, as I've said before, I need stability in my department, and I'm hoping everyone will do the right thing for the state's sake."

While the high-security functions of prisons will remain intact, many programs and training are at risk of shutting down if lawmakers do not pass a budget by July 1.

The Department of Corrections released this list of some programs and services at risk of being shut down, delayed or interrupted:

• Victim services

• Oversight of centralized electronic monitoring program

• Institutional and domestic violence programming

• Institutional education and vocational programming

• Institutional and community substance abuse treatment programming

• Institutional and community recidivism reduction programming

• Institutional and community re-entry services and support

• Institutional chaplaincy programming

• Inmate population research projects

• Security and maintenance of the Palmer Correctional Center, which closed as a prison at the end of 2016

• Transitional housing efforts

• System and automated system development for pre-trial, electronic health records and Alaska Corrections Offender Management System

• Timely responses to Americans with Disabilities Act complaints and grievances

• Timely responses to public complaints and requests from the Alaska State Human Rights Commission, Ombudsman, American Civil Liberties Union, legislature and media

"All of those things are sort of ancillary pieces in one area in regard to my department, but they're very important in terms of stability and safety inside the prisons," Williams said.