Bernie Warner has over 34 years of experience in both juvenile and adult corrections. In July of 2011, Mr. Warner was appointed by then-governor of Washington Christine Gregoire as the secretary of the state’s department of corrections, a position he held until October 2015. Secretary Warner led an agency of 8,000 employees responsible for over 35,000 offenders in 12 prisons, 15 work release facilities, and 123 community supervision offices throughout the state. He has also held executive positions in corrections in the states of Arizona, Florida, and most recently California, where he served as the director of the state juvenile justice system. In each jurisdiction, Secretary Warner has focused on comprehensive system reform based on an evidence-based model of risk, need, and responsivity.
In Washington state, Secretary Warner led several innovative initiatives, including a “mission focused” response to offenders in restrictive programs, significantly reducing the number of inmates in segregation; the piloting of a prison-based “cease-fire” model as a strategy to manage serious gang behavior; a gender-responsive strategy to ensure appropriate services for incarcerated women; and the reengineering of community corrections, providing for the first statewide implementation of the HOPE model that blends swift and certain sanctions with community-based cognitive behavioral interventions.
Secretary Warner is currently on the board of the International Corrections and Prisons Association and previously served as western region president of the Association of State Correctional Administrators.