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Executive director of North Region for the Md. Dept. of Correctional Services announces retirement

August 26, 2013
  • Jon Galley
File photo

TOWSON, Md. — Jon Galley, executive director of the North Region for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and former commissioner of Maryland’s prison system, announced Friday that he is retiring, effective Nov. 1.

Galley — who started his corrections career as a teacher and whose work in the state’s correctional system included a stint as warden at the Maryland Correctional Training Center south of Hagerstown — spent 46 years in correctional services.

Department Secretary Gary Maynard said in a news release that Galley “is known nationally as a professional in corrections, and has brought significant and positive change to the state’s prison system. He is an asset to our department, but I wish him the best in retirement.”

But Patrick Moran, president of the Maryland branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the labor union that represents correctional officers, said he was pleased to see Galley go.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Moran said.

He said attacks on officers by inmates have increased under existing DPSCS management, which includes Galley.

He noted a case a few weeks ago in which an officer was brutally attacked and stabbed by an inmate at North Branch Correctional Institution near Cumberland. Md.

Moran alleged some of the incidents could have been prevented if management at the prisons acted on intelligence about upcoming attacks.

“We want to see management held accountable for their lack of action,” he said.

The department Monday announced the removal and reassignment of the chief of security at North Branch in the wake of the stabbing because the injured officer was not notified of the threat as required by policy, according to a DPSCS news release.

Galley, 69, got into corrections by accident, when a medical condition prevented him from entering military flight school in the mid-1960s, according to a news release from the DPSCS. At the time, the state was building MCTC south of Hagerstown, and that prison needed teachers.

So Galley started his correctional career as a teacher and worked his way up the ranks to become warden at MCTC in 1979. Eventually, Galley held that top post in four state prisons, the release said.

“The best job in this business is being a warden,” he said in the release. “You’re closer to the ground, to the staff and inmates. It’s where you can really make a difference.”

Galley was appointed commissioner of corrections in 1981, and spent three years in that post.

He left DPSCS for six years to run the local correctional systems in Montgomery and Frederick counties, but returned to state service as warden of Western Correctional Institution in Allegany County, Md., the state prison system said.

Before being named executive director for the North Region, Galley was assistant commissioner for the West, the release said.

Galley’s legacy includes introducing the concept of unit management in prison housing and championing the development of meaningful programs for inmates as a way to create safe, clean and healthy institutions, the release said.

“Locking up and throwing away the key doesn’t work, and neither does the other extreme,” Galley said in the release.

Galley mentored countless men and women who went on to have key leadership roles within the department. He also opened the door for women in corrections, hiring the region’s first female prison counselor in the 1970s and placing a female sergeant in a segregation unit in Hagerstown, the release said.

Among Galley’s contributions was his success in establishing accreditation as an effective management tool for running correctional facilities, the release said. As a warden at Western Correctional Institution, he oversaw its accreditation by the American Correctional Association, the first in Maryland. 

“I still like doing what I do,” Galley said. “But now it’s time to step back.”

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