Press Releases


Ashbel T. Wall Wins Award as Outstanding Corrections Commissioner in the Nation

For Immediate Release Contact: George or Camille Camp November 18, 2008 Phone: 860.704.6410

At its annual awards dinner on November 15th, 2008, the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) honored Ashbel T. (“A.T.”) Wall, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections as the outstanding Director of Corrections for 2008.

The award is presented annually to recognize the outstanding ASCA member and that member's dedication and achievements. ASCA established the award in 1992, to celebrate Michael Francke's contribution to the field of corrections and his support of ASCA. In 1989, while Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections, Michael Francke was murdered as he left his office in Salem. In 1991, a former Oregon inmate was convicted of his murder and sentenced to life in prison.

A.T. Wall began his correctional career in the neighboring state of Connecticut as a probation counselor. Working his way through law school at Yale University, he later served as Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, served as Director of the Manhattan Community Service Sentencing Project for the Vera Institute of Justice and a Policy Analyst on law enforcement for the Rhode Island Governor’s Office.

He came to the Rhode Island Department of Corrections in 1987, serving in the role of Assistant Director for Policy and Development, and later was promoted to the position of Assistant Director of Administration before being appointed to the position of Director in 2000. Today, A.T. is the third longest tenured director in the country.

According to his executive staff, A.T. Wall is a leader who has “never veered from his deep and abiding interest and commitment to the criminal justice system…demonstrating a talent for clearly and concisely communicating the complex issues of the world of corrections to the public.” To this end, he has done extensive work with other organizations throughout the state of Rhode Island, including officials from law enforcement, elected offices, mental health advocacy agencies such as NAMI, faith-based groups, and social service agencies across the state.

A.T. Wall has mirrored these efforts on the national level as well, testifying before Congress in 2003 with regard to the Prison Rape Elimination Act and the efforts of the field to address such issues. His staff noted that he is “…a tireless trainer on PREA, having crisscrossed the nation several times…” to speak about sexual assault and sexual misconduct to various groups and national organizations. He has participated as a panel member for a videoconference on PREA, hosted by the National Institute of Corrections. He has also testified at the fourth hearing held by the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons.

Throughout his career, A.T. Wall has demonstrated his desire not only to be a leader in the field of corrections, but to serve it as well. He has been actively involved with a number of professional correctional associations. He is currently the Co-Chair of the Advisory Committee to the Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and has served several terms on the Criminal Justice Board of Directors for the Eastern Regional Conference of the Council of State Governments. For ASCA, he is a frequent trainer at programs for newly appointed corrections administrators across the country, and has served on the Executive Committee of ASCA as the representative of the Eastern Region and currently serves as Treasurer of the Association.

A.T.’s leadership, dedication, and persistence have contributed greatly to the field of corrections – both nationally and locally within Rhode Island. As his Assistant Directors who authored the nomination noted, “…his leadership, creative energy, commitment to his work and his staff, and his progressive and innovative contributions to [the] department…” all describe Director Wall’s character and approach to corrections – both of which are greatly valued and respected by his staff, his peers, and the field as a whole.

The Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) is a national organization representing the Directors of Corrections for the 50 States, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and four large urban jail systems. Members also include the Directors of the Correctional Service of Canada, the Administration of Corrections in Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, the Virgin Islands, and the Ministry of Corrections in Ontario Canada. The Association’s major goals are to influence and shape correctional policy, to identify and serve as a clearinghouse to share with its members proven correctional practices, standards, and performance measures to ensure the furtherance of successful state-of-the-art activities; and to support its membership through a regimen of training and professional development programs designed to enhance member’s professional skills and awareness on advancements in the profession.

For more information, please contact George or Camille Camp, Executive Directors.

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