Massachusetts: Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces Search Committee for Department of Correction Commissioner

Boston — Today, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced an update on the search process to identify the next Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction, following the retirement of Commissioner Carol Mici last month. The Administration has formed a six-member search committee, composed of diverse professionals and community leaders with wide-ranging expertise and lived experience, to guide a robust process to identify the new executive and administrative leader of the Department of Correction.

With administrative support from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), the Committee will guide the search process and provide multiple opportunities for stakeholder engagement. During the ongoing search, the Department remains under the leadership of Interim Commissioner Shawn Jenkins.

Search Committee members include:
  • Deirdre Calvert, Director of the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Addiction Services

  • Reverend Rahsaan D. Hall, President and CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts

  • David C. Henderson, MD, Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Boston Medical Center and Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry, at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine

  • Sakieth Sako Long, Director of Operations for the Northeast Region at the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services

  • Scott Semple, Retired Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Correction

  • Yolanda Smith, Executive Director of Public Safety at Tufts University and former Suffolk County Sheriff's Department Superintendent and Chief of Staff

"Massachusetts leads the nation with historically low rates in incarceration and recidivism. The next DOC commissioner has a unique opportunity to shape the future of corrections in Massachusetts, advance the Department's rehabilitative mission, and ensure the health and well-being of those working and living in DOC facilities," said Governor Maura Healey. "We are grateful to the remarkable members of the search committee for their service and commitment to identifying strong applicants with the vision and values to lead the Department of Correction into the future."

"The selection of the Department's future leader marks a pivotal moment for the DOC and a transformative opportunity to advance criminal justice reform, operational enhancements, rehabilitation, and recidivism," said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. "We look forward to engaging with the search committee and appreciate their dedication to conducting a thorough and expedient search to identify highly qualified and diverse candidates."

The search committee will begin the process by seeking stakeholder input about the most valued qualities and criteria for the DOC's next commissioner. The search committee will then conduct a robust search and interview process for qualified candidates, culminating in a selection of finalists to be recommended to the Governor.

Search Committee member bios:

Deirdre Calvert
has served as the Director of the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Addiction Services since April 2019. Before that, Director Calvert worked for more than 25 years as a clinical director and social worker in the Massachusetts substance use disorder system, including Opiate Treatment Programs, Residential Treatment Programs, and outpatient services. Director Calvert is also a Teaching Associate at Boston University School of Social Work and School of Public Health. Director Calvert earned a master's in social work from Boston University and is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW).

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Rev. Rahsaan D. Hall is the President and CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. There, he leads the Urban League's efforts to enable communities to overcome racial and social barriers that cause economic inequities and are exacerbated by sexual and domestic violence, by creating employment and economic development opportunities.

Previously, Rev. Hall served as the Director of the Racial Justice Program for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and prior to that Hall was the Deputy Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice. He also served as an Assistant District Attorney for the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. Rev. Hall serves on the boards of the Who We Are Project and the Hyams Foundation and is an ordained reverend in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.

Rev. Hall is a highly sought-after public speaker and has received multiple awards and recognitions for his work including Boston Magazine's Top Lawyers 2021, the Equal

Justice Coalition's 2019 Beacon of Justice Award, Get Connected 's 2018 GK100 Boston's Most Influential People of Color, Massachusetts Communities Action Network 2018 Carry if On Leadership Award.

David C. Henderson, MD, serves concurrently as Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Boston Medical Center (BMC), Department of Psychiatry Professor and Chair at Boston University's Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Co-Director of the NIMH T32 Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine/Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Global Mental Health Clinical Research Fellowship, and a Director of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). Prior to these roles, Henderson previously served as Director of the Chester M. Pierce, MD Division of Global Psychiatry at MGH, Director of the MGH Schizophrenia Clinical and Research Program, and Medical Director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma.

Dr. Henderson's clinical experience includes 30 years in resource-limited settings, and areas impacted by mass violence, disasters, and complex emergencies around the world. He has conducted research and training programs in Bosnia, Cambodia, East Timor, Ethiopia, Haiti, Liberia, New Orleans, New York City, Rwanda, Peru, South Africa, and Somaliland, among other places. His work has consisted of field studies, needs assessments, mental health policy development and strategic planning, quantitative and qualitative surveys, mental health capacity building programs for specialized and primary health professionals, and skill-transfer program evaluation. In the United States, he has conducted more than 30 randomized clinical trials in severely mentally ill populations. Dr. Henderson has mentored trainees and junior faculty who have progressed to K awards and secured other independent funding.

Sakieth Sako Long is the Director of Operations for the Northeast Region at the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services. Long is a highly regarded organizational leader who brings over two decades of experience to all aspects of non-profit management, including DEI, healthy work environments, strategic planning, staff professional development, strategic partnerships, and the theory of change process.

Prior to his role at DYS, Long served in several positions at UTEC, Inc., including Senior Director of Strategy, Senior Director of Outreach and Reentry, and Director of Youth Services.

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He also has extensive experience guiding programming at community organizations in Lowell, including a Coalition for a Better Acre and the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association. Long began his career as a Street Outreach Supervisor overseeing engagement and outreach to gang-involved youth. He is President of the Board of Director for Thrive Communities and a member of the Department of Correction Restorative Justice Advisory Committee.

Scott Semple completed more than 30 years in the Connecticut Department of Correction, including nearly 4 as Commissioner in January 2019. Beginning his career as a front-line correction officer in 1988 at the high security Cheshire Correctional Institution, he served in numerous administrative capacities, including pre-service training coordinator, external and legislative affairs, and warden of the state's only correctional facility for men requiring comprehensive treatment services for significant mental illness.

During his time as Commissioner, Semple successfully implemented several performances based and progressive correctional practices designed to support both staff and incarcerated people. He created the Emerging Adult Units known as the TRUE Unit in Cheshire, the WORTH Unit in Niantic, and repurposed an existing correctional facility and other specific housing units for specialized populations to provide a therapeutic environment designed to support community reintegration. Mindful of the complex and unique needs associated with the health and welfare of correctional professionals and their families, Semple implemented numerous agency-wide staff wellness initiatives to support, respond to and improve policies evolving.

Following his retirement from public service, Semple provides professional consulting independently and as a senior expert for Falcon, Inc. on topics related to criminal justice, correctional, and community services.

Yolanda Smith is the Executive Director of Public Safety at Tufts University.

In nearly three years at Tufts, she has successfully enhanced the culture of trust and transparency within the department and the Tufts Community. Since her arrival, she has built a new policing model, the Hybrid Response Model, which includes accredited, armed police and a cadre of campus security officers who are non-enforcement officers who respond to calls for service that do not warrant armed police presence. Yolanda has met with students, faculty, and staff to better understand what public safety should look like for the community. She has made other substantive changes, including uniform changes for the officers that distinguish the campus police from the municipal police.

Before Tufts, Smith had a successful 26-year career at the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department, rising through the ranks to simultaneously hold the positions of Superintendent, Chief of Staff, and Special Sheriff.  In her career, Yolanda has always been at the forefront of progressive law enforcement methods that focus on engagement with the community, addressing structural bias, rehabilitation & transformative justice to combat recidivism, and ensuring sustainability in the community post-release. She also prioritized diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives.  Some highlights of her career include instituting weekly Spotlight Meetings at the Suffolk County House of Correction to address the unique challenges of inmates that require higher levels of care, overseeing the creation of the PEACE Unit, a specialized unit for youthful offenders with more direct programming specifically designed to foster an environment of respect, and the distribution of specialized tablets to facilitate greater contact between inmates and their family and help them achieve their educational goals.

She serves as the executive secretary for the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives Massachusetts chapter and served on the national finance committee for three years. Smith earned a master's in public policy from Liberty University and is pursuing her Doctorate in Criminal Justice.

Filed Under: Government, State

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