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Virginia Department of Corrections — Public Safety First


Harold W. Clarke

Photo of Harold W. Clarke, Director.

Harold W. Clarke grew up in the Canal Zone in Panama. After graduating from Doane College in Crete, Nebraska, in 1974, Mr. Clarke joined the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services as a counselor. He rose through the department, becoming a unit manager, deputy warden, and then warden at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in 1987. In August 1990, he was appointed Director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, a position he held until 2005, when he left Nebraska to become the Secretary of the Washington State Department of Corrections. In November of 2007, Mr. Clarke left Washington to become the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. Commissioner Clarke left Massachusetts in November 2010 to accept an appointment as the Director of Corrections in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Among other initiatives under Director Clarke’s leadership, the VADOC has had a focus on improving re-entry of offenders in the commonwealth.

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

His awards include the Martin Luther King Service award in 1991, the Dedicated Correctional Service Award in 1994, the Citizen of the Year Award from the Nebraska Association of Substance Abuse Directors in 1996, the Michael Francke Award from the Association of State Correctional Administrators in 1997, the Pioneer Human Services Partner of the Year Award in 2006, the Legacy Award from the Association of Women Executives in Corrections in 2007, the Honor “D” Award from Doane College in October 2007, the Reentry Champion Award from Offender Aid Restoration Inc. in 2012, the Visionary Leadership Award from the Muslim Chaplain Services of Virginia in 2013, the William H. Hastie Award from the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice in July 2014, and the E.R. Cass Correctional Achievement Award from the American Correctional Association in August 2014.

Director Harold Clarke can be contacted at