It is now clear that neither Dean Williams nor the Governor is going to retract what was said in the Administrative Review of the Department of Corrections. A retraction from the Administration would, by far, have been the best way for this to be resolved. Below is ACOA’s official response to the Administrative Review and Dean Williams’ release of video and images to the press.
Before anything else, and so there is no misunderstanding, we would like to say that our new Deputy Commissioner and Director are good people. They, of course, will do as ordered, just as you all must do. The individuals in Public Protection and Labor Relations are also good people. Please do not infer that anything in our rebuttal to the Administrative Review reflects poorly on them. They are good people, doing their jobs.
We know there is some confusion among some of you as to whether your fellow Officers actually did some of the horrible things in Dean Williams’ Administrative Review. That confusion is probably because we did not send out a rebuttal sooner due to waiting for a retraction from the Governor and Dean Williams. It is also understandable because, based on the numerous allegations of wrong doing Dean Williams insinuated to the public and to Legislators, you would think that at least some of it must be true. However, as we have said before, and as you can read, none of Correctional Officers vilified in the Administrative Review did what they were accused of doing. This document sets the record straight.
The policies Dean Williams’ publicly criticized Officers for following remain essential to maintain safety and security in correctional institutions across the country. Every single day, Correctional Officers are being ordered to perform their duties in exactly the same manner that Dean Williams criticized. Every day this contradiction puts Officers in danger.
On February 16, 2016 the Association’s Board of Directors sent Dean Williams the letter (linked below) concerning his expectations of Officers because his comments directly contradict DOC Policies and Procedures. Correctional Officers have yet to receive a response to this letter. Officers remain in a catch-22; do their job per policy and risk being put on television and depicted as a murderer, or do not follow Alaska DOC Policy and Procedures and risk losing their jobs.
The public release of these videos and the misinformation released by Dean Williams divert attention from the role understaffing plays in compromising safety and its contribution to inmate deaths. It is far better to be forthright about problems, such as insufficient staffing, and look for common solutions which will benefit the State and the Officers than to vilify the Officers involved for following policy.