Steve Sinclair, MPA

Former Co-Director, Sustainability in Prisons Project
Former Secretary for Washington State Department of Corrections

Steve Sinclair retired in 2021 following a-30 year career with the Washington State Department of Corrections (WA Corrections) and previous service in the US Army. While serving WA Corrections, he has held numerous positions of increasing responsibility, including but not limited to intelligence and investigation investigator, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, associate superintendent, superintendent, and assistant secretary. In his role of Secretary of Corrections, he led the third largest cabinet agency in Washington State. The focus of the agency is to ensure public safety and positively impact incarcerated individuals by stressing personal responsibility and accountability and by discouraging recidivism. WA Corrections is responsible for more than 18,000 incarcerated individuals and the supervision of more than 17,000 released former offenders in the community. The department employs approximately 8,000 men and women in correctional facilities and field offices in communities throughout the state.

While superintendent of Washington State Penitentiary, Steve was instrumental in creating the Sustainable Practices Lab, a hugely successful experiment. While serving as an assistant secretary, Steve made sustainable operations a priority across the state. He was instrumental in creating WA Corrections’ first Sustainability Policy (see SPP Publications). At every prison, he promoted formation of a sustainability team: a collaborative group of staff who share ideas and planning efforts and connect to other teams to problem solve and share best practices. Steve serves as an inspiration for facility managers, working with them to identify actionable energy reductions strategies. He has been a champion for Roots of Success and for beekeeping education and conservation, encouraging statewide engagement in those programs.