Retaliation Against Protective Custody Inmates at Goose Creek Correctional Center

Inmates and families assigned to the protective custody housing unit at Goose Creek Correctional Center (GCCC) - formerly known as K Mod - awoke Wednesday morning (September 16, 2015) to a shock. K Mod was being disbanded, and all inmates currently housed there due to their need for protective custody were forced to choose between placement in general population or administrative segregation. There was no warning, and there have been severe emotional, physical, and financial impacts upon the inmates and families.

Many families and inmates fear that this is a direct retaliation against - or attempt to silence - K Mod inmates and families for speaking with authorities across the state about inmate treatment within GCCC and other institutions. Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC) has come under intense scrutiny in recent months, as a report from the Ombudsman found DOC in direct violation of due process in multiple instances, and discussed the lack of accountability DOC has to outside authorities.

In response to an earlier string of inmate deaths in Alaska, Governor Walker's office responded with a formal administrative review of DOC policies and activity. The review is being conducted by Dean Williams, Special Assistant to the Governor, and Joe Hanlon, retired FBI Special Agent. Families of K Mod inmates, and the inmates themselves, had responded by providing information to the various authorities including the Ombudsman's office and Governor's staff.

K Mod has been in place as the official protective custody housing unit at GCCC for years. Now suddenly, after this cooperation, inmates have not only been forced into severely inferior, permanent living conditions, but they have also been directly threatened about family members advocating on their behalf. When confronted from outside authorities about these threats, GCCC staff responded with a coercive 'investigation' in which they explained that an inmate "shouldn't" tell their family information that could make them feel the need to advocate for the inmate. Meanwhile, at least one inmate attempting to advocate for themselves has received a response from the institution that continued submission of questions could result in punitive segregation - otherwise known as solitary confinement.

This kind of retaliation against Alaska citizens cannot be allowed to continue. If this issue concerns you, please learn more and contact your legislators, state officials, and local media to express your concerns.

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