Clark Ducart named CDCR Executive of the Year

By Lt. Jessica Berg, AA/PIO, Pelican Bay State Prison 
and Krissi Khokhobashvili, Public Information Officer II, CDCR

(Editor’s note: CDCR’s annual Medal of Valor and employee recognition ceremony will be held Thursday, Sept. 15. Inside CDCR will publish profiles of some of those being honored each day leading up to the ceremony. The event will be live streamed.) 

Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) Warden Clark Ducart has seen a lot of changes at CDCR in his distinguished career. In his more than 30 years of service, Ducart has handled many tough assignments, most recently leading CDCR’s implementation of a comprehensive strategy for managing inmates in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at PBSP, and new behavior-based criteria that lessened the department’s reliance on long-term

Pelican Bay State Prison Warden Clark Ducart.

Pelican Bay State Prison Warden Clark Ducart.

segregated housing.

Other notable accomplishments include PBSP’s reaccreditation by the American Correctional Association; meeting the criteria set forth in the Plata lawsuit, thereby delegating authority of PBSP medical care back to the state; and activating the only Restricted Custody General Population housing unit in CDCR.

Ducart provides top leadership by delegating and exercising appropriate oversight for the activities of employees while supporting his management team.

Inside CDCR asked Ducart for insight into his leadership style and his vision for PBSP’s future.

When did your career in corrections begin, and what was your path to becoming warden? Why did you choose to work in corrections?

I began my career with CDCR in May 1986 as a correctional officer at San Quentin State Prison. I took the traditional custody path to becoming a warden. I have worked as a correctional officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, correctional administrator and chief deputy administrator.

I was interested in a career in law enforcement and felt that corrections would be both challenging and interesting.

You have led some tough assignments over the years, notably the review of more than 900 SHU inmates and the implementation of behavior-based SHU criteria. What is your leadership style, and what are your thoughts on these significant accomplishments?

These accomplishments have definitely been the result of a team effort, with all involved working together to achieve the goal. None of this would have been possible without the support and dedication of all staff involved. Basically, my leadership style is to provide staff with clear expectations, the training, and tools they need in order to be successful, and then allow them to do their job. I truly enjoy my role in recognizing staff for their hard work and accomplishments.

How does it feel to be recognized as Executive of the Year?

I feel humbled and honored to be recognized for this award.  As I have said this would not be possible without the hard work and support of staff at Pelican Bay State Prison. I am blessed to work with such an amazing team of people.

What’s next for Pelican Bay? What is your vision for the staff and inmates?

Pelican Bay State Prison will continue to move forward with its mission to provide public safety and maintain a safe environment for inmates to participate in meaningful education and rehabilitative programs, while continuing to provide quality health care, mental health and dental care to the inmate population.