OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee today announced he’s appointed Dan Pacholke to serve as the new Secretary of Corrections for the State of Washington, effective October 17, 2015.
Pacholke, who currently serves as the Deputy Secretary for the department, brings more than 32 years of experience with the agency. Since 2014, in his role as Deputy Secretary, he has overseen the leadership of prisons, community corrections, healthcare, offender change, reentry services, and correctional industries divisions.
“Washington state is at the forefront of many innovative and successful rehabilitation and reentry efforts. Dan is not only an outstanding administrator and manager, he’s committed to further strengthening the great work happening all throughout DOC,” Inslee said.
Pacholke started his career with the agency in 1982 as a Correctional Officer at McNeil Island Corrections Center. He was promoted through the ranks, including serving as the superintendent at three Washington state prisons prior to becoming the Prison Administrator for Command West in 2008. In 2010, Pacholke was appointed as Assistant Secretary over the Prisons Division.
Inslee praised Pacholke for being widely recognized for innovative prison change and for the operation of safe, humane prisons. He has demonstrated leadership in reforming restrictive housing, using cutting-edge innovations such as targeting gang violence among high custody prison settings, and providing meaningful ways for inmates to contribute to society.
In 2003, Pacholke was awarded the Governor’s Sustaining Leader Award by Governor Gary Locke. Pacholke initiated the department’s successful Sustainability in Prisons Project partnership with the Evergreen State College, and co-authored the book “Keeping Prisons Safe: Transforming the Corrections Workplace” in 2014.
In 2007, he was nominated for the Secretary of State’s “Extra Mile” award for saving the taxpayers $1.3 million in water conservation. In 2012, he was awarded the Governor’s Distinguished Managers Award by Governor Christine Gregoire.
Pacholke replaces outgoing Secretary Bernie Warner who originally started his career at DOC and most recently worked there for the past five years, four of them as secretary.