Performance Review of the Department of Corrections, 2014

In the fall of 2013, the Division of Legislative Audit conducted a competitive procurement which culminated in the award of a contract to CGL to conduct the first performance review of the Department of Corrections (DOC) as required by legislation passed in 2013 (Chapter 19 SLA 2013).

The review analyzed the overall effectiveness and efficiency of DOC while focusing on 17 specific review objectives. CGL analyzed DOC’s performance and policies and compared them against national best practices. To gain an understanding of how DOC operates, the performance review team interviewed DOC management, line staff, and key stakeholders; attended public hearings about DOC’s performance; and visited all of DOC’s correctional institutions. The performance review fieldwork was conducted between January and August of 2014, and the preliminary report was presented to the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee on October 28, 2014. The final performance review report was released by the committee on December 16, 2014.

For a copy of the Department of Corrections Performance Review Scope, please see the ‘Links’ section below.

Department of Corrections Overview

DOC’s mission is to provide secure confinement, reformative programs, and a process of supervised community reintegration to enhance the safety of the State’s communities. Alaska is one of six states that operates a unified correctional system, meaning both sentenced and un-sentenced individuals are housed within the state system. This unique situation leads to a number of challenges and circumstances that most other states do not encounter.

Key Facts

  • DOC operates 13 facilities statewide and contracts for an additional 15 regional jails.
  • DOC houses approximately 5,000 inmates.
  • DOC has 13 field probation offices that are organized into three regions and serve nearly 6,000 offenders.
  • DOC operates an electronic monitoring program that serves 375 offenders.
  • DOC contracts for community residential centers (half-way houses) throughout the State.
  • DOC offers a wide range of reformative programs; some of the most prominent programs focus on substance abuse treatment and offender reentry.

Performance Review Report Summary

In the final report, CGL presents a list of findings and recommendations related to DOC performance. Overall, CGL determined that DOC provides its core services in an effective and efficient manner, but recommends several improvements.

Key Findings

    • DOC is moderately effective in meeting its objectives of providing secure confinement and supervised release.
    • DOC is highly effective in providing reformative programs, but the effectiveness of the actual programs is unknown due to a lack of research staff to study program outcomes.
    • DOC’s delivery of secure confinement, reformative programs, and supervised release is efficient.
    • DOC’s delivery of healthcare appears to be adequately and efficiently managed, but policies and procedures have significant omissions that could affect the quality of services provided.
    • DOC lacks information, such as a long-range facilities master plan and a current prison system population forecast, for policy makers to use to make informed decisions.
    • DOC did not provide a specific list of proposed budget reductions, as required by performance review statutes.

For a copy of the final report, please see the ‘Links’ section below.

About the Contractor

CGL has extensive experience reviewing correctional systems throughout the United States. The CGL team was comprised of criminal justice experts with operational and system management experience and backgrounds in performance reviews.


Please note: Portions of the Department of Corrections Performance Review Report have been redacted in the interest of public safety.

DOC Performance Review Scope 

DOC Performance Review Report