John Wetzel

John Wetzel

Secretary Wetzel is widely recognized as one of the thought leaders in corrections today.

With nearly 25 years of experience, beginning as a corrections officer in 1989, followed by counselor, treatment supervisor and finally director of the training academy of a county facility, in 2002, he began his 9-year tenure as Warden of the Franklin County (PA) Jail. He was credited with leading an effort that resulted in the transformation of their correctional system with a 20% reduction in their population while the crime rate declined.

He was appointed to the PA Board of Pardons, by then Governor Edward Rendell (D), as the Board's Corrections Expert where he subsequently led a change in the pardons process resulting in an increased production of the Board while alleviating an elevated waiting time for applicants.

In December of 2010, he was selected as the 11th Secretary of Corrections for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by Governor-elect Corbett. His tenure there saw an elimination of a 24-year average growth of 1500 inmates per year, presiding over the first population reduction in PA in over 4 decades. Additionally, he oversaw the restructuring of the Community Corrections system, the mental health system and a re-engineering of internal processes to yield a more efficient system of program delivery.

He is one of 30 members of Harvard’s Executive Session on Community Corrections which is a joint project of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). He has also been selected as the Vice Chair of the Council of State Government’s Justice Center’s Executive Board.

Finally, the Secretary is the former offensive line coach for Shippensburg University and a founding member of the St. Seraphim homeless shelter. He also initiated a program to positively impact disadvantaged youth by inviting private sector/higher education entities to develop programs specifically focused on them, similar to the president's My Brother's Keeper initiative.