OLYMPIA, Wash. — Former Washington Department of Corrections administrator Bernard Warner will return to the department in the fall to become director of prisons.
Warner succeeds Dick Morgan, retired from the DOC in July, in overseeing the more than 16,000 inmates housed in Washington’s 13 state prisons.
“Bernie has successfully led large, complex divisions across the country and in Washington,” says Eldon Vail, secretary of the DOC in Washington.
Most recently, Warner worked for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation where he served as chief deputy secretary at the Department of Juvenile Justice.
The 55-year-old Warner, who began his corrections career in 1980 as a counselor at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, remained with the Washington DOC throughout the 1990s. Prior to joining the CDCR, he worked for state corrections agencies in Arizona and Florida.
“It was absolutely critical for us to find someone like Bernie who is experienced in leading large agencies through adversity,” Vail says. Since 2008, the DOC has closed two prisons and housing units at several facilities in an effort to reduce spending amid significant budget cuts imposed by state legislators.
Washington DOC’s deputy director of prisons Dan Pacholke will continue to serve as the acting director until Warner assumes his new role in October, officials say.