Job services to be offered at correctional centers

State labor officials say they will use a $500,000 federal grant to expand employment services offered to individuals incarcerated at two correctional facilities in Southcentral Alaska.

Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas said hundreds of inmates at the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center near Anchorage and the Goose Creek Correctional Center in Wasilla would have access to career services inside those facilities to prepare them for post-release employment. Individuals will receive assistance with employability skills and be linked to education, training, job placement and supportive services, in an effort to reduce recidivism.

The Walker administration, in partnership with the Criminal Justice Commission and the Alaska Legislature, is pursuing structural reforms to reduce recidivism and crime, which is expected to reduce state spending.

Prior to receiving the U.S. Department of Labor grant, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development has supported recidivism reduction efforts through participation in community reentry coalitions, partnering with employers on work release programs and employment of former inmates, as well as with the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority.

The goal is for every incarcerated individual to have a job placement or training plan identified by the time he or she is released, state officials said.