- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 10, 2002

RICHMOND Gov. Mark R. Warner yesterday appointed one of his administration's top deputies and a career prison administrator to key posts overseeing the departments of social services and corrections.
Maurice Jones, the deputy chief of staff in the governor's office, is the new commissioner of the Department of Social Services (DSS), overseeing the agency that administers welfare, foster care, child protection and child-support programs across Virginia.
Gene Johnson, who worked his way up from a prison warden to acting director in 36 years with the Department of Corrections, became the agency's permanent director.
Mr. Jones will succeed acting Director Ray Goodwin, who was appointed to head the agency after the departure of Sonia Rivero, who served former Gov. James S. Gilmore III, a Republican, as DSS commissioner.
In addition, Mr. Jones will continue his duties as Mr. Warner's deputy chief of staff. Those included coordinating the administration's urban policies and serving as liaison to the governor's Commission on Efficiency and Effectiveness, headed by former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, a Democrat.
Mr. Jones is a Hampden-Sydney College graduate, a Rhodes scholar and holds a University of Virginia law degree.
Before he joined the Warner administration, Mr. Jones was director of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFIF), a federal corporation within the U.S. Treasury Department.
The CDFIF provides technical assistance and helps find capital mostly for nonprofit groups that serve low-income neighborhoods.
Mr. Johnson takes charge of a corrections department headed for 8 years by Ronald Angelone, under whom the agency experienced its largest expansion and became known for a hard-nosed approach toward the treatment of prisoners.
At the start of Mr. Angelone's watch, Republican Gov. George Allen and the General Assembly abolished parole and began a massive prison-building program.
Since 1994, the number of prisoners increased from 22,000 to more than 31,000, the corrections work force increased from 9,675 to 13,165 and the agency budget nearly doubled, from $423.8 million to $831 million.
While Mr. Angelone drastically reduced the number of inmate uprisings and escapes, civil rights and prisoner-advocacy groups accused him of brutal treatment of prisoners. Mr. Angelone offered Mr. Warner his resignation after Mr. Warner did not invite him to stay.
The governor appointed Mr. Johnson as acting director on Sept. 17 and made the selection permanent yesterday.
"Mr. Johnson shares my commitment to safe and secure prisons and correctional policies that protect human rights," said Mr. Warner, a Democrat.
Mr. Johnson has been warden at four prisons St. Brides, Mecklenberg, Southampton and Powhatan and administrator for the department's northern, eastern, central and southeastern regions. He became the department's operations chief in 1985, deputy of community corrections in 1989 and deputy director of operations in 1994.


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