Remembering CO Executive Director Tom Clements

Many friends and associates of Tom Clements have shared their thoughts and memories:

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper:
March 20,2013
To: Employees of the Department of Corrections
Last night, Tom Clements was killed at his home in Monument. I can hardly believe it, let alone write words to describe it.
As your Executive Director, he helped change and improve DOC in two years more than most people could do in eight years. He was unfailingly kind and thoughtful, and sought the “good” in any situation. As you all know, in corrections that is not easy.
We have no more details than that. I am so sad. I have never worked with a better person than Tom, and I can’t imagine our team without him.
Tom regularly spoke of your professionalism and dedication to the department. It is during times like this that we must stand together to meet the Department’s public safety mission and to honor Tom’s memory.
I know that you all join me in sending prayers and support to Tom’s wife, Lisa, their two daughters and their family.  For the next few days, please allow them to grieve with their family in private.

With all our heart,
John



From the CO Department of Corrections Website:

“Tom Clements was a thoughtful and dedicated leader. He was a visionary whose drive and commitment to the Department was contagious. He led the Department with dignity, compassion, integrity and an unyielding sense of team and family. He united the Department with a common mission, a set of values and a vision for the future. Tom empowered the Department to grow and evolve. His strategic, pragmatic approach to positive change has become our way of doing business and in his honor we will persevere.”


ASCA President A.T. Wall:
As I began to recover from the initial shock of learning that Tom Clements was murdered at his home in Colorado last night, the famous words written by John Donne in 1624 came to mind:
 
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."
 
They seem particularly relevant to our feelings about the loss of Tom.  We have often acknowledged that we are an exclusive club, bound together by the shared understanding and empathy that comes from an appreciation of how it feels to be one of us.  Above and beyond our common interest in correctional practice and policy, this knowledge that we are all in it together is the glue that unites ASCA’s members.  Being a director of corrections is not a profession for the weak of character or faint of heart.  As rewarding as these jobs are, they can also entail stress and very real risks - - to our positions, reputations and even safety.  With each other we can drop the game face that is sometimes so important to those who depend on us and come to know each other in special, personal ways.    
 
Tom represented the best in what our field has to offer:  experienced, steady, thoughtful, trustworthy, forward-looking and warm-hearted.  He was humble about his gifts, always interested in what others were doing and willing to lend a hand.  He cared deeply about the Department of Corrections in his adopted state of Colorado.  There is no question that he was trusted and respected by his staff even as he led the agency through a time of change.  We in ASCA were fortunate to enjoy his active involvement in our shared work and his kind and friendly personality.  Tom was not only a gentleman but a gentle man.    
 
As we mourn Tom’s death and think of his devastated family, we grieve the passing of someone who was truly one of our own and a part of us - - not only a colleague, but a member of the family.  We will long miss and never forget him.   


U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
“Director Clements was a public servant of remarkable dedication and integrity,” said Attorney General Holder.  “Throughout his career, he embodied the highest standards of excellence and professionalism that define the very best in the corrections field. I join my colleagues and counterparts in Colorado, and across the country, in reaffirming my commitment to do everything possible to keep law enforcement and correctional workers safe. My thoughts and prayers are with his colleagues, friends, and loved ones during this difficult time.”

NIC Acting Director Robert Brown in letter to NIC staff:
“Tom was one of the great leaders of our business and a consummate professional.  I hope that each of you in your own way will take a moment today to remember one of our finest leaders who was taken from us much too soon.”


Michael Thompson, Director, Council of State Governments Justice Center in the National Reentry Resource Center Newsletter:
By now it is likely you have heard of the tragic death of our good friend Tom Clements. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with his family during this painful time.
 
As a top corrections official in Missouri for more than 30 years, and as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections for the last two years, Tom could not have been more highly regarded by his peers and colleagues across the country. He was a national leader in the reentry field, and was appointed to the Reentry Policy Council, where he contributed extensively to the development of the bipartisan recommendations on improving prisoner reentry that became the foundation of the Second Chance Act.
 
United States Attorney General Eric Holder shared this appreciation of Tom’s importance to the field:
 
“Director Clements was a public servant of remarkable dedication and integrity,” said Attorney General Holder.  “Throughout his career, he embodied the highest standards of excellence and professionalism that define the very best in the corrections field. I join my colleagues and counterparts in Colorado, and across the country, in reaffirming my commitment to do everything possible to keep law enforcement and correctional workers safe. My thoughts and prayers are with his colleagues, friends, and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Tom led the team of Colorado state officials who attended the 2011 National Forum on Reentry and Recidivism Reduction, which was convened by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and other private foundations. Leaders from all 50 states attended the Forum, where Tom shared a wealth of insights about how to translate the latest research into policy and practice that would yield meaningful reductions in recidivism.
 
Although his expertise and practical knowledge were deep and vast, he was also exceptionally modest, open to new insights and intent on listening first.  He was exceedingly generous with his time, and committed to do whatever he could to advance the field.
Tom Clements, at the National Forum on Reentry and Recidivism Reduction in 2011
 
We—and the field as a whole—are in a better place today because of Tom. For that, we are grateful to have known him and we mourn the loss of someone on whom we had come to depend.  We will miss him terribly.

Gregg Marcantel, Secretary, New Mexico Corrections Department
As a 32 year career cop, when the Governor appointed me to her cabinet as her corrections secretary, I knew I would need sound mentors in my life to succeed. Tom was one of a handful of such correctional professionals that graciously allowed my study. His kindness and passion for changing lives quickly became contagious…he quickly became my friend. I am a better person and professional for having him in my life for a short couple of years. I will miss him but cherish his spirit no differently than when he walked among us. May God bless his family and the men and women of the Colorado Department of Corrections with the appropriate strength it will take to grow stronger and closer together in his passing. It’s what he would have expected of us all.

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction Director Gary Mohr:
March 20, 2013 letter to Ohio DRC staff

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