Governor's Office of Minority Empowerment
Governor Beshear Taps First Woman to Head State Corrections Department

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, January 22, 2008  
Contact Information:  Vicki Glass, Work 502-564-2611; Cell 502-382-6973  

Governor Beshear Taps First Woman to Head State Corrections Department

Kentucky Native LaDonna Thompson is 18-year Veteran of DOC

FRANKFORT, KY (January 22, 2008) – Gov. Steve Beshear today named LaDonna Thompson as Kentucky’s Corrections Commissioner, marking the first time a woman has been tapped to head the state’s Department of Corrections. 

“Commissioner Thompson has dedicated her career to the Department of Corrections. I am confident that her training and experience have prepared her well for this important post and given her a keen understanding of the issues and needs facing the department,” Gov. Beshear said.

Thompson, 45, has spent the last two and a half years as Deputy Commissioner of the agency. She is an 18 year veteran of the Department of Corrections. While serving as a project manager, she was instrumental in implementing a statewide offender management system – a comprehensive project that combined three large, outdated systems to allow for a seamless flow of information.

“She has literally worked her way up, tackling multiple challenges and making significant improvements in Corrections,” said J. Michael Brown, Justice and Public Safety Secretary. “Her leadership in this area will be critical to our mission of ensuring the safety of our Commonwealth.”

As one of the original correctional officers at the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex, Thompson moved on to hold a position at Kentucky State Reformatory and Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in LaGrange.  She made her way up through the ranks, working with the VINE program (Victim Information and Notification Everyday), inmate classification and population management divisions.

During her career in Corrections, Thompson received numerous awards, including three honors for distinguished service to the department. A recent graduate of the Leadership Kentucky class of 2007, her awards also include two for recommendations that resulted in fiscal savings for the Commonwealth. Thompson was a 2007 recipient of the


“Breaking the Glass Ceiling” Award presented by the National Center for Women and

Policing, and was selected as a participant in the 2006 NIC Executive Leadership for Women class.

“I’m honored to have been selected. I want to thank Governor Beshear and Secretary Brown for the confidence they have expressed in me, and I look forward to the challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead,” Thompson said. “I will be working with a team of talented and professional men and women every day who work in our prisons, probation and parole offices, and county jails across this state.”

A graduate of Morehead State University, Thompson received her degree in psychology and sociology. She and her husband Brian, a detective with the Louisville Metro Police Department, live in Bullitt County with their two sons.