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State Seal Lt. Governor's Office
Indiana Governor-elect appoints Kentucky Corrections official to head Indiana DOC
Press Release Date:  January 5, 2005

Lisa Lamb
Department of Corrections
Ph: (502) 564-4726

Ryan Watts
(502) 564-2611 Ext. 387



Frankfort, KY – Indiana Governor-elect Mitch Daniels today tapped Kentucky Department of Corrections Deputy Commissioner J. David Donahue to serve as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction.

Donahue joined the Kentucky DOC in February of last year and during that time has been responsible for supervision of support services in the areas of administrative services, corrections training, budget management, correctional industries, offender information and information technology.  He has more than 20 years of experience in corrections, ranging from serving as a corrections officer and trainer to working as a policymaker and warden in correctional facilities in Kentucky, Texas and Florida.

“Deputy Commissioner Donahue has been a great asset for the Kentucky Department of Corrections and his service will be greatly missed,” said Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence. “Dave is an exemplary craftsman with over 24 years of corrections experience. Through his seasoned leadership and dedication to the profession, I know that he will master the challenges of this new endeavor. As Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, I wish Dave the best of luck with this new opportunity."

Kentucky Corrections Commissioner John D. Rees echoed those sentiments. “We will definitely miss Dave and we have enjoyed the benefit of his experience this past year. Our loss is surely Indiana’s gain.”

Donahue’s career includes a four-year stint as warden of the Marion Adjustment Center in St. Mary, overseeing 181 employees and 500 inmates. He also worked as a case management coordinator for the U.S. Department of Justice federal correctional institution in Fort Worth, Texas from 1988 to 1990, and was senior vice president and chief operating officer for the U.S. Corrections Corporation in Louisville, Kentucky from 1994 to 1998.

In selecting Donahue, Governor-elect Daniels said: “Indiana needs fresh ideas to tackle the problems in this very troubled agency. The Department of Correction generated the second highest number of critical reports during our due diligence review of state government; Indiana pays people in Kentucky to guard its prisoners while two new facilities sit virtually empty, and DOC has more managers than guards.”

Donahue marks the first non-Hoosier appointment in the Daniels' administration. 

“I have devoted my career to learning and understanding the operations of private and public sector correctional facilities,” said Donahue. “The Governor-elect expects me to start by putting more Hoosiers to work guarding Indiana prisoners, streamline the department's management structure, and ensure that we provide eligible Hoosier inmates with the opportunity to rehabilitate and re-enter society.”

Donahue has also worked as a high school teacher, with emphasis in alternative programming. He also has served as a Bureau of Prisons Hostage Negotiator instructor.

A native of Bardstown, Donahue is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University. He and his wife Jan have three children, Britteny, Natalie and Evan.

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Last updated: Wednesday, January 05, 2005