Georgia Department of Corrections
Brian Owens, Commissioner
Director of Public Affairs
Contact: Office of Public Affairs (404) 656-9772
For Immediate Release
ATLANTA - Governor Sonny Perdue announced today the appointment of Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner James E. Donald to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles. He will replace Garfield Hammonds, Jr., whose term expired December 31, 2008.
Hammonds was originally appointed to the Board by Governor Zell Miller and was re-appointed by Governor Roy Barnes in December 2001. Donald’s appointment is effective today, January 5 and expires on December 31, 2015.“Commissioner Donald’s experience in the state’s prison system makes him an excellent addition to the Board of Pardons and Paroles,” said Governor Perdue. “He has demonstrated strong leadership skills during his tenure at DOC and I am confident that he will continue his commitment to public service in his new role.”
Governor Perdue will recommend DOC Assistant Commissioner Brian Owens to the Corrections Board as Commissioner Donald’s replacement. “Brian has served the agency in a number of leadership roles over the past decade and is ready to take on this new challenge,” Governor Perdue said.
Owens began his career in the criminal justice system as a Parole Officer. He achieved the rank of the Assistant Chief Parole Officer and eventually became the Chief Parole Officer of Fulton County. In 1999, Owens accepted a position with the Department of Corrections where he spearheaded the Office of Planning and Analysis.
In 2002, Brian Owens was selected to the position of the Executive Assistant to Commissioner Wetherington. He sustained that position with the appointment of Commissioner Donald and was appointed to the position of Assistant Commissioner in March 2005. Mr. Owens is a graduate of the University of Georgia.
A brief biography of James Donald follows:
State Board of Pardons and Paroles
James E. Donald, 59, Decatur – Donald was appointed Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections by Governor Perdue in December 2003. As prisons chief, he oversaw the fifth largest prison system in the nation, 200,000 felons in prison or on probation, 15,000 employees, and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. He has earned the Bronze Star for his leadership as a Task Force Commander with the 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles” during Gulf War I. He is a former Deputy Commanding General U.S. Army Pacific and served two tours of duty in the Pentagon. Donald earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi and a master’s degree from the University of Missouri. He has two children.