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Darrell Johnson began his career with Gwinnett County in 1987 as a police officer. In 1988, Darrell transferred to the Department of Corrections to become a correctional officer. In 1989, he was promoted to Sergeant and then to Lieutenant in 1992. He has worked in the Support Services Division for 18 years as the Care and Treatment Supervisor for the counselors and caseworkers. Darrell was appointed as Captain/Accreditation Project Manager in 2007. In 2009, he was promoted to Captain of Security. In 2009, he also became the Deputy Warden of Facility Operations. He has a master’s degree in public administration from the School of Professional Studies, Brenau College, and a bachelor’s degree in criminology, College of the Ozarks. Darrell completed the Gwinnett County Management Development Program Levels I, II, and III in 1994. Darrell also completed the Gwinnett County Executive Drive Program in 2007. In 2009, Darrell attained the status as a Certified Corrections Manager through the American Correctional Association.
Donald L. Dagen, Jr.
Donald L. Dagen Jr. has served as deputy warden of Facility Operations since April 2013 and reports directly to the warden. Don began his career with the department in 1989. He progressed through the ranks to lieutenant in 2001, to acting captain of Support Services in 2007 and then to captain of security in 2009. Don holds an associate degree in Applied Science/Electronics and is a graduate of the County’s Excel Management Development Program. Currently, he is enrolled in the PMP (Professional Management Program) through Columbus State University to pursue a bachelor degree in criminal justice.
Scott Pickens, CCM
Scott Pickens has served as Captain of Facility of Operations since April 2013 and reports directly to the deputy warden. Scott has supervised in Field Operations, Building Security, and in the Care and Treatment areas of the department since 1999. He began his career with the department in 1993 as a correctional officer. Scott was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1999 and then to lieutenant in 2001. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Georgia State University and was the first person in the state of Georgia to earn recognition as a Certified Correctional Manager by the American Correctional Association. Scott is a POST-certified training instructor specializing in firearms, defensive tactics, TASER, and has completed the County’s EXCEL Management Development Program and the Georgia Department of Corrections’ Sergeants Academy.
History of the Gwinnett County Corrections Department
In 1973, the County prison was known as the Public Works Camp, or more popularly, the PWC. The facility had two dormitories that housed 112 inmates. The type of work performed by the inmates was primarily patching pot holes in paved roads, building and repairing wooden bridges, and cutting right-of-ways. The department also operated a farm, slaughterhouse, cannery, and smokehouse that provided food for the inmate population.
In 1984, the prison became known as the Correctional Institution. The building was expanded, adding 120 beds in two additional dormitories. The expansion included a day room, inside isolation cells, and additional office space. The expansion was jointly funded by the Georgia Department of Corrections to help relieve overcrowding in the state system.
In 1985, because of increasing pressure from the federal courts to reduce overcrowding at the County jail, the Correctional Institution began housing pre-trial detainees in two modular housing units. Detainees were housed here until 1991 when the new Detention Center was opened. Fines imposed by the courts were returned to the County and used to purchase the modular units. The additional housing was used to expand the Work Release Program.
Abandoned by the Sheriff’s Department with the opening of the new Detention Center, the Department of Corrections assumed control of the old County jail and converted it into a Diversion Center. After several months of renovation, it opened in March 1992 with 170 beds and a staff of 18 personnel. With the removal of the Work Release Program participants from the Correctional Institution, the capacity for inmates was increased to 262.
Due to increasing need for bed space at the Diversion Center, 60 additional beds were added in 1995 using two mobile housing units.
In 1996, James L. Kraus, a 22-year veteran with the Gwinnett County Police Department, was named the sixth warden to lead the Department of Corrections.
In 1998, plans for a new state-of-the-art facility had begun. Land belonging to both the State of Georgia and Gwinnett County was identified directly across from the existing institution and deemed to be satisfactory for the new facility.
History of Wardens
Clyde N. Phillips 1939 – 1971
Fred Banks 1971 – 1981
Gary Lancaster 1981 – 1987
Michael Barkhurst 1987 – 1992
Sandra Blount 1993 – 1996
James L. Kraus 1996 – 2008
David W. Peek 2008 – 2013
Darrell Johnson 2013 – Present