CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo, Feb. 11, 2013 – The director of the Missouri Department of Corrections will present the keynote address March 6 at Southeast Missouri State University’s 38th Annual Criminal Justice Day.
George Lombardi will speak on the “Evolution of Corrections in the State of Missouri” at 3 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom A. The address will cap events including a career fair and special demonstrations throughout the day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Lombardi is expected to discuss how corrections budgets across the country have increased dramatically in the past 25 years. The root cause of that increase are numerous, including more conservative approaches to sentencing, the increased time required for incarceration, the advent of new crimes each legislative session, the increased population in age range prone to committing crime, the deinstitutionalization of mental health systems and many other factors, he says.
“As prisons have grown, the complexity and responsibility of ensuring constitutional living conditions and rehabilitative efforts have concomitantly increased likewise,” Lombardi says. “Success of probationers so they do not enter the treadmill of incarceration and efforts at prison reentry for those already incarcerated is at the forefront of current corrections functioning.”
According to Lombardi, restorative justice is a catalyst for changing people’s cognitive beliefs and emotional character toward a productive life and is used by progressive correctional professionals.
“The Missouri Department of Corrections is on the forefront of the restorative justice effort nationally,” he says.
Agencies expected to participate in Criminal Justice Day at Southeast include the U.S. Marshals, Secret Service, Border Patrol, Missouri Highway Patrol, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and police and corrections departments.
Many of Southeast’s 450 undergraduate criminal justice majors are expected to attend. Approximately 55 percent of Southeast’s graduates majoring in criminal justice serve in law enforcement, with the remaining 45 percent working in correctional institutions, community-based corrections and juvenile or youth service programs.
“Our graduates find work at the local and state levels, and a significant portion have sought and secured federal employment,” said Dr. Hamner Hill, interim chair of Southeast’s Department of Criminal Justice.
The conference keynote speaker, Lombardi, was nominated by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to the director of the Department of Corrections in December 2008. The nomination was confirmed in January 2009. Lombardi became the sixth director to lead the Department since Corrections became its own cabinet-level state agency in 1981.
Lombardi is a longtime veteran of the Missouri Department of Corrections having served previously as the director of the Division of Adult Institutions for 18 years, assistant director of that division for three years and a warden for seven years. As director of Corrections, he is responsible for the 20 adult correctional facilities, seven community supervision centers, two community release centers and 54 parole offices across Missouri. This includes about 11,500 staff, 75,000 probation and parolees and 30,000 inmates.
During his retirement from the Missouri Department of Corrections in 2005, Lombardi was senior consultant of the Missouri Youth Services Institute and, for two years, worked closely with the Washington, D.C., Youth Services Division at the facility for committed youth. He served on the board of directors and as chairman of the Criminal Justice Task Force for the Missouri Association of Social Welfare. He is a past president of the Missouri Corrections Association and has served as an auditor for the Commission of Accreditation for Corrections. He has lectured on criminal justice matters at the American Corrections Association, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, colleges and universities and civic organizations.
Lombardi organized the first annual National Conference on Prisoner Reentry with Central Missouri State University. He was recognized at Central Missouri State University’s December 2002 commencement with a Distinguished Alumnus Award. In November 2011, Lombardi was presented the first Mel Carnahan Public Service Award from the University of Missouri Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs. He received the 2012 Region VII Missouri State Champion Award (Head Start Association). He holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science, both in psychology, from the Central Missouri State University.