The Alaska Department of Corrections (ADOC) constructed the Goose Creek Correctional Center to address two urgent concerns: the need to enhance rehabilitation rates and the shortage of prison facilities, given its location on the Knik Arm waterway to the west of Anchorage.

In 2004, the enactment of laws cleared the path for the initial newly established state correctional facility in two decades because of worries regarding the expenses of such agreements and growing exasperation among Alaskans who were incapable of visiting their imprisoned relatives. The ADOC was accommodating approximately 1,000 detainees at correctional facilities in Colorado and Arizona due to an insufficiency of suitable establishments within the state.

The general design of the new establishment influenced the objective of facilitating the successful reintegration of inmates into mainstream society. This was reinforced by relocating the prisoners to Alaska, which would bring them closer to their families and other familiar support systems, thus providing a boost. Moreover, the ADOC anticipated that the new facility would generate local economic growth and employment opportunities, while also saving money on inmate transportation expenses and prison space rental fees.

A Model for Prisoner Rehabilitation

The Goose Creek Correctional Center, which is comprised of five separate buildings, was designed differently from many other prisons. It creates a sense of personal responsibility among prisoners by allowing them to work shifts in the largest commercial kitchens, dining halls, laundry rooms, and grounds-keeping crew. They are also free to come and go during the day to handle their own errands, such as trips to the barber shop, pharmacy, or post office.

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The state offers programs for job training, substance abuse management, and anger management in areas where there are more dangerous offenders, as well as specific housing for those who are temporarily in custody awaiting trial or in need of specialized medical care, in addition to the general population of 1,500 inmates.

Thermomass Benefits

The NC System Thermomass, which features insulated concrete tilt-up panels, has proven to be an invaluable component for general contractor Neeser Construction on Project Creek Goose. Fortunately, by using this system, they can avoid dangerous and costly working conditions and ensure that projects are completed on time. However, constructing buildings in Alaska during the tough winter weather presents unique challenges, as the construction season is compressed and only finished structures must withstand these conditions.

Due to the Thermomass insulation being sandwiched between the exterior and interior layers of concrete, the facility’s walls were constructed and insulated, enabling an expedited construction schedule for this large-scale project. Furthermore, the prompt establishment of the building envelope allowed interior tradesmen to commence their work earlier.

The ADOC can expect lower energy costs even in the harsh winter months of Alaska, which means that the NC System Thermomass provides inherent thermal performance advantages and provides ideal low-maintenance, durable surfaces for correctional facilities. The concrete exterior and exposed interior panels also provide years of benefit for prison facilities.

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