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MA correction commish leaves to run VA prisons

Banner Staff
MA correction commish leaves to run VA prisons
Harold W. Clarke resigned last week as commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction. (Photo: Banner file)

Harold W. Clarke, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction, resigned last week and accepted a similar position as the director of the Virginia Department  of Corrections.

Clarke had been commissioner for the last three years overseeing the system’s 18 facilities and 9,00 inmates. He starts in Virginia on Nov. 18.

Clarke, 59, started with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services as a counselor in 1974 and rose through the ranks to become director in 1990. In that post, which he held until 2005, Clarke developed and implemented a community focused re-entry plan, according to McDonnell’s office.

He took over as secretary of the Washington State Department of Correction, and in 2007, accepted the position of commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction. There, Clarke crafted a plan that involved changing how segregation units were used to promote re-entry, according to the administration.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, McDonnell has emphasized prisoner re-entry coordination, even touring Henrico County’s Regional Jail East during his inaugural week festivities to highlight programs aimed at rehabilitating inmates while they are serving time, and assisting in their re-entry to society.

With his 11th executive order, the governor created the Virginia Prisoner and Juvenile Offender Re-Entry Council and stressed a need to coordinate services among state, local and nonprofit agencies. He appointed Banci Tewolde as the first prisoner re-entry coordinator.

Each year, about 13,500 adult and 500 juvenile offenders are projected to be released from incarceration in Virginia.