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PRESS RELEASE: State Senator Jeannie Darneille (D-Tacoma) Named Assistant Secretary of Newly Created Women’s Prison Division

Released September 21, 2021

Contact Jacque Coe, (360) 890-0381

Communications Office

image of jeannie darneille

Assistant Secretary of Women's Prison Division Jeannie Darneille (DOC Communications Office)

TUMWATER – Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Cheryl Strange has named state senator Jeannie Darneille (D-Tacoma) as Assistant Secretary of DOC’s Women’s Prison Division. Darneille has represented the 27th Legislative District for over two decades and is a leading voice for juvenile and criminal justice reforms in Washington State. She currently chairs the Senate Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee and serves on the state Senate Law & Justice and Ways & Means committees. Senator Darneille has been an active and present advocate on several task forces addressing poverty, homelessness, incarceration, and child welfare.

Darneille’s new role will oversee the development of a new Women’s Prison Division within the DOC and carries with that responsibilities ranging from policy development and programming to safety and security.

Secretary Strange created a Women’s Prison Division early in her appointment as DOC Secretary, to advance the department’s efforts to develop a gender responsive program that will better address the unique needs of DOC’s female incarcerated population.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to bring someone to DOC with Senator Darneille’s proven record on correctional issues. Our work will be strengthened by her commitment and deep understanding of issues affecting incarcerated individuals and the staff who work to support their care and custody,” said Strange. “Senator Darneille knows the subject matter from her years of work, and the view from her lens can only help improve our operations as we develop one of the first Women’s Prison Divisions in the nation.”

“I am humbled by this rare opportunity to turn vision into reality,” said Darneille. “This is a unique chance to implement the reforms and policies I have worked hard as a legislator to pass, and I am honored to now serve in a progressive role to improve conditions and programs for women under the care and custody of our state department of corrections.”

Darneille has served the 27th Legislative District since 2001. Prior to her role as a state legislator, Darneille served as a non-profit executive for organizations serving women, minorities, and those living with HIV and AIDS, as well as serving on several non-profit boards. She has been honored for her leadership by organizations representing police and sheriffs, attorneys, women and cultural groups, poverty issues, and children. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Western Washington University and a master’s degree in higher education administration from Colorado State University. She has lived in Pierce County since 1979.

Senator Darneille will assume her new role sometime this fall, with a date to be determined soon.