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2017 Tom Clements Innovation Award goes to Colorado DOC Executive Director Rick Raemisch

Tom Clements inspired everyone he knew to demonstrate purpose and determination to improve corrections. He epitomized the virtues of vision, mission, innovation, reform, and the fair and effective treatment of prisoners from incarceration through reentry into their communities. In the wake of his assassination, ASCA has been inspired to present the Tom Clements award annually to a director who most closely reflects his virtues and accomplishments as a leader in the corrections profession.


The recipient of this award must be an active ASCA member of at least two years, and must have demonstrated that he/she regularly participates and contributes to ASCA events and/or projects.


The Clements Award distinguishes a member who has initiated an outstanding innovation or achievement that embodies the vision of corrections reform embraced by Executive Director Clements. This vision includes but is not limited to reforms in the area of administrative segregation, recidivism, parole supervision, prison programming and any other successful reform which is progressive in nature.


This year’s recipient not only receives high marks in the categories listed, but also answered the call to fill the large shoes left behind by Tom Clements.  He picked up the mantle of reform and took it to new and exciting levels and challenged his colleagues to be better.  The 2017 recipient of the Tom Clements Innovation Award is Director Clements’ successor at the Colorado Department of Corrections, Executive Director Rick Raemisch.


Mr. Raemisch earned this award for his continued work in leading not only the nation, but the world in correctional reforms. In 2011 when segregation reforms began, over 1,500 offenders or 7 percent of the prison population in the Colorado Department of Corrections was assigned to Administrative Segregation. Under the leadership of Mr. Raemisch the department implemented further segregation reforms and was able to reduce this number to less than 200 offenders in Extended Restrictive Housing.


Today Administrative Segregation and Extended Restrictive Housing no longer exist in the Colorado Department of Corrections. Offenders, even at the highest security level, are now offered a minimum of four hours per day out of their assigned cells. This time consists of passive recreation, outdoor recreation and cognitive rehabilitative and educational classes in a group setting. The elimination of Extended Restrictive Housing engages offenders in opportunities to make positive behavioral changes and promotes offender success.


Executive Director Raemisch has also been recognized for his numerous re-entry programs that have been implemented to assist offenders in their release and make them successful. This includes establishing facility parole officer positions in every private and state facility, and establishing re- entry units in 15 state and private prisons where offenders are given proper identification, access to medical care and opportunities for stable housing prior to release.


Mr. Raemisch is an active member and strong supporter of ASCA. He currently serves as the chair of the Western Directors and is an active member of the Executive Committee. He has served as an advisory consultant for the United Nations and shared philosophies and pathways for establishing programs and cultures in reforming corrections today. He testified before a U.S. subcommittee on segregation reform and assisted the U.S. Justice Department Presidents’ Committee in setting forth reforms.