Press Release
State of Maryland
Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services
Communications Office Contact
Mark Vernarelli
410-339-5065 ~ mvernare li@dpscs.state.md.us

Jon Galley Retires from DPSCS
North Regionís Executive Director brought national accreditation and unit management to Maryland prisons

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TOWSON, MD (Aug. 23, 2013) – Jon Galley, the Executive Director of the North Region for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) and former commissioner of Maryland’s prison system announced today that he is retiring, effective Nov. 1, 2013, after 46 years of correctional service.

“I knew Jon Galley for several years before coming to Maryland,” said Secretary Gary Maynard. “He 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.”

Among Galley’s many contributions is his success in establishing accreditation as an effective management tool for running correctional facilities.  As a Warden at Western Correctional Institution (WCI) in Cumberland, Galley oversaw its accreditation by the American Correctional Association, a huge achievement, and at the time, a first in Maryland. 

Galley was also involved in the start of the accreditation movement nationwide, serving on the first team to audit an adult correctional facility, Vienna Correctional Center in Illinois, in 1979, and auditing over 100 facilities throughout the US and Canada. Maryland is now working to have all of its more than 20 correctional facilities accredited.

Galley, a Pennsylvania native who is 69, got into corrections by accident, when a medical condition prevented him from entering military flight school. That was in the mid-1960s, when the state was building a new prison just south of Hagerstown. That institution – the Maryland Correctional Training Center (MCTC) – needed teachers, and it was as a teacher that Galley started his correctional career.

From there he worked his way up the ranks to become Warden in 1979. Eventually, Galley would hold that top post in four DPSCS prisons.  “The best job in this business is being a warden,” he says. “You’re closer to the ground, to the staff and inmates. It’s where you can really make a difference.”

Mr. Galley was then appointed Commissioner of Correction in 1981, serving three years.

He left DPSCS for six years to run the local correctional systems in Montgomery and Frederick counties, but returned to state service as WCI’s Warden.

Immediately prior to his service as Executive Director for the North, Galley was the Assistant Commissioner for the West. With responsibility for the institutions in Hagerstown and Cumberland, Galley’s leadership was significant to a department-wide reduction in institutional violence on both staff and inmates.

Galley’s legacy includes many other programs as well. He introduced the concept of unit management in prison housing, and championed the development of meaningful programming for inmates as a means of creating safe, clean and healthy institutions. “Locking up and throwing away the key doesn’t work and neither does the other extreme,” he said. 

During his decades of service, Galley mentored countless men and women who went on to have key leadership roles within the Department. Galley 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.

Like helping to open up the corrections profession to women in Maryland, Mr. Galley’s impact on the Department will be long lasting, as is evident when speaking about his fondness for the profession.

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