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Press Release

Press Release

Governor-Elect Northam Re-Appoints Harold Clarke as Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections

December 19, 2017

RICHMOND — Harold W. Clarke, head of the Virginia Department of Corrections, has been re-appointed by Governor-elect Ralph Northam to lead the agency for a third term.

Today at Fire Station #17 in Richmond, Governor-elect Northam thanked Director Clarke for his service to the Commonwealth and announced Clarke’s re-appointment.

“As Governor, the safety of all Virginians will always be my number one priority,” said Governor-elect Northam.

For the second year in a row, Virginia’s re-incarceration rate is the lowest in the country, at 22.4 percent. Among the 45 states that report three-year incarceration rates for felons, no other state correctional system reports a lower rate. The Commonwealth’s recidivism rate has fallen a full percentage point since last year.

“I am honoured by Governor-elect Northam’s actions today, and I look forward to a fruitful partnership with his administration as we work together to focus our energy on offenders’ successful re-entry into our communities,” said Director Harold Clarke.

Clarke became the Virginia Department of Corrections’ leader in November 2010 after appointment by Governor Bob McDonnell. Clarke was then re-appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe in 2014.

Clarke began his corrections career in Nebraska after graduating from Doane College, rising through the ranks to become Nebraska’s Director of Corrections in 1990. In 2005, he became the Secretary of the Washington State Department of Corrections, and in 2007, he became Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections.

Clarke was inducted as a National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) Fellow in November, 2016. His recent awards include the E.R. Cass Correctional Achievement Award from the American Correctional Association in August 2014, the William H. Hastie Award from the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice in July 2014, the Visionary Leadership Award from the Muslim Chaplain Services of Virginia in 2013, and the Reentry Champion Award from Offender Aid Restoration Inc. in 2012.

In August 2010, he completed a two-year term as President of the American Correctional Association. Director Clarke has also served as President of the Association of State Correctional Administrators and served on the Board of Trustees of Doane College.

More information on the VADOC can be found at

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