RICHMOND — Virginia Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke is a 2019 recipient of the Clements Award, presented by the national Correctional Leaders Association (CLA). Clarke received the award during the association’s All Directors Symposium in Carlsbad, California on Tuesday.
The Clements Award honors the memory of Tom Clements, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections. On March 19, 2013, Clements was shot to death outside his home by a parolee who was later killed in a shootout with police in Texas.
CLA created the award to identify association members who, like Clements, demonstrate the virtues of vision, mission, innovation, reform, and the fair and effective treatment of offenders from incarceration through reentry into their communities.
“Tom Clements was an honorable leader in corrections and a friend. He was a visionary who understood that lasting public safety could not be achieved simply by imprisoning offenders,” Clarke recalls. “He epitomized the values of a healing environment and it is a privilege to receive this award given in his honor.”
“Director Clarke defines leadership as not being a spectator's sport, but one that requires active participation, infusing purpose and meaning,” says Brian Moran, Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security. Moran nominated Clarke for the award. “His ability to embody the practices of exemplary leadership by modeling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging the process, enabling others to act, and encouraging the heart, makes him a perfect fit for this award. The corrections profession is fortunate to have such an extraordinary public servant in Harold W. Clarke."
Several of Director Clarke’s peers supported the nomination, including Scott R. Frakes, Director of the Department of Correctional Services in Nebraska.
“It was through Director Clarke that the concept “reentry begins at intake” became standard practice and not simply a theoretical construct,” explains Director Frakes. “He demonstrated his belief in an individual’s ability to build a better life when given the right tools and opportunity to do so.”
Under Director Clarke’s leadership, Virginia has achieved the lowest recidivism rate in the nation for three consecutive years. Through Clarke’s Healing Environment and Dialogue initiatives, the use of evidence-based practices, and a culture of constant learning, the department has positioned itself as a global leader in restrictive housing reforms and reentry preparation for returning citizens.