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Dan Pacholke

Founder of the Sustainability in Prisons Project
Former Secretary for Washington State Department of Corrections

A long-time officer and administrator of the Washington State Department of Corrections (WA DOC), Dan Pacholke co-founded the Sustainability in Prisons Project with Dr. Nalini Nadkarni of The Evergreen State College (Evergreen).

In 2003, while serving as the Superintendent of the Cedar Creek Corrections Center, Dan implemented many cost-saving conservation initiatives involving both prisoners and correctional staff. Activities ranged from recycling, worm composting, and rainwater catchment systems to beekeeping, horticulture, and an organic garden that supported the prison’s food services. Later, as the Superintendent of the Stafford Creek Corrections Center, he initiated large-scale sustainable operations to lessen the financial and environmental impacts of the facility’s 2,000 incarcerated individuals, 600 staff, and expansive 210-acre site. Promoting to WDOC headquarters, he spearheaded sustainable operations system-wide and advanced rehabilitative educational programs such as K-9 Rescue in which incarcerated technicians train troubled dogs for adoption.

The partnership was co-led from the start. From 2003 to 2011, Dan and Nalini served as co-directors, and they formalized the Sustainability in Prisons Project with an unprecedented cooperative agreement between their institutions. Evergreen’s directorship was passed to Dr. Carri LeRoy in 2011, and Carri and Dan led SPP through a highly productive period: under their leadership the project grew three-fold. Dan was appointed by Governor Inslee as Secretary of the Washington Department of Corrections in October, 2015, and served as Secretary until March, 2016. We are grateful to him for more than a decade of service and leadership.

Dan has a Bachelor’s degree in arts from The Evergreen State College.