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The 2017 Louie Wainwright Award


After Directors of Corrections leave their posts as leaders of corrections agencies, some may be chosen to become Associate members of the Association of State Correctional Administrators. No Associate has been more successful in directing an agency nor given so much to the profession as the revered Louie Wainwright who, for twenty-five years of continuous service, served as Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections. After his service, he continued to contribute to Corrections via Wainwright Judicial Services, a criminal justice consulting firm based in Tallahassee, FL and the Corrections Foundation of Florida, a non-profit entity serving the Florida Department of Corrections with more than 25,000 members. 


      In 2004, the Louie Wainwright Award was created to recognize outstanding contributions to Corrections by an ASCA Associate who had exemplified the professional standards espoused by Mr. Wainwright. 


        The recipient of 2017 Louie Wainwright Award is J. David Donahue, who was honored at the ASCA 2018 Winter Conference in Orlando this January.  


        Dave’s career in corrections started as a correctional officer for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  During his career, he has held a number of positions in Federal and state systems including case worker, unit manager, executive assistant and warden. He held the position of Deputy Commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Corrections before being appointed as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction.  As commissioner, he led a workforce of over 9,000 employees supervising nearly 39,000 adult offenders and 3,000 juvenile offenders.

        In 2009, Dave joined the GEO Group as Eastern Region Vice President where he oversaw 24 correctional facilities encompassing over 31,000 beds.  Today, he serves as Senior Vice President and President of US Corrections and Detention and International Operations.


           Equally impressive to his resume are his many contributions to the field of corrections.  Dave currently serves as Vice President of the American Corrections Association.  Additionally, he is an ACA-certified correctional manager and a member of ACA’s Restrictive Housing Sub-committee.  He is an active member of ACA, a steadfast supporter of ASCA, a friend to many in the field of corrections, and deserving of this great honor.