Dan Pacholke: How prisons can help inmates live meaningful lives
Dan Pacholke - Prison administrator and reformer
Dan Pacholke aims to keep the Washington State Department of Corrections on the front edge of innovation by rethinking the design of prisons, the training of officers and the education opportunities made available to inmates. Full bio
the bucket for failed social policy.
nothing else has worked,
Department of Corrections.
in corrections, over 30 years.
going to end up in prison,
I started as an officer there.
roiling from the parking lot,
were most violent or disruptive
contact and they deteriorate.
of the state's deep-end prisons
or disruptive inmates are housed.
experienced correctional workers
at a time to the state training academy.
we tried a new type of design.
significant to you here today,
safer and more humane.
and we changed the behavior.
up against system change.
on my earlier experiences
with offenders, the heat went down.
the behavior changed.
superintendent of a small prison.
people who were not like me,
other state systems as well,
more interesting and exciting.
violent offenders are housed.
was these particular inmates.
what was possible, and this gives me hope.
for both staff and inmates,
a lot more than just controlling.
and environmental restoration.
in old ideas about prison.
About the speaker:Dan Pacholke - Prison administrator and reformer
Dan Pacholke aims to keep the Washington State Department of Corrections on the front edge of innovation by rethinking the design of prisons, the training of officers and the education opportunities made available to inmates.
Why you should listen
Dan Pacholke has spent more than three decades working in prisons, first as a corrections office and later as an administrator. Now the Deputy Secretary of Operations for the Washington State Department of Corrections, he says, “I don’t see my job as to punish or forgive [inmates], but I do think they can have decent and meaningful lives in prison.”
Pacholke has dedicated his career to changing the way we think about corrections. Over the years, he has helped usher in programs designed to prevent fires before they start rather than fight them after they’ve flared up. Pacholke has been part of initiatives to redesign prison facilities to maximize interaction between the staff and inmates, to give corrections officers training in verbal de-escalation as well as physical response, and to give inmates opportunities to learn new things while they are in the system. As the co-director of the Sustainability in Prisons Project, Pacholke brought recycling, composting, horticulture and even bee-keeping programs into prisons—to give inmates meaningful work, but also to cut costs and make prisons more sustainable.
Dan Pacholke | Speaker | TED.com