2018 E.R. Cass Awards

Congratulations to the 2018 winners of ACA’s prestigious E.R. Cass Correctional Achievement Award: Patricia Caruso (Michigan) and Daron Hall (Tennessee). The awardees will be honored at a banquet held during the 148th Congress of Correction in Minneapolis on Aug. 7, 2018. Look for more information in the upcoming 148th Congress of Correction Planning Guide, which will be posted online in early April.

Patricia L. Caruso

Michigan Department of Corrections, retired

Patricia L. Caruso spent 23 years with the Michigan Department of Corrections, including nine years as a warden and almost eight years as the director of the department, serving as a cabinet member to Governor Jennifer Granholm. She retired from the department on Jan. 1, 2011.

As director, she was responsible for directing the administration of Michigan’s correctional system: the adult prison system, probation and parole supervision, the parole board, community corrections, and all related administrative functions, including a budget of approximately $2.0 billion. During her tenure, the department successfully reduced the prison population by more than 7,500 prisoners, implemented the nationally acclaimed Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative, realized a 33 percent reduction in recidivism, greatly expanded public and private community partnerships, increased use of electronic monitoring, and closed 14 facilities. 

Director Caruso received a B.A. in political science and sociology from Lake Superior State University and an M.A. in comprehensive occupational education from the University of Michigan. She is currently the chair of the Foundation Board and a member of the Professional Advisory Board at Lake Superior State University. She is past president of several organizations: the Association of Women Executives in Corrections, the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents, the Association of State Correctional Administrators. She also served as vice president of the American Correctional Association. She remains active in a number of other professional correctional organizations. 

Director Caruso and her husband, Stan, have been married for 40 years and make their home in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They are the parents of two grown children and have three grandchildren.

Sheriff Daron Hall
Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee

Daron Hall was sworn-in as the 61st sheriff of Davidson County September 2002 and elected to his fourth term in 2014.

Hall has made it a priority to focus on programming, treatment and community involvement to ensure inmates become productive citizens. Over the past 10 years, these efforts have resulted in a dramatic 32 percent decrease in the inmate population. Hall has always expressed the desire to celebrate the closing of a jail and, in 2011, he realized that goal and shut the doors of a 300-bed facility.

For the first time in Nashville history, fewer jail beds are being built. As he continues this effort, he is also passionate about decriminalizing the mentally ill and is currently working toward criminal justice improvements for this population. In September 2017, he was awarded the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Sam Cochran Award for his commitment to this ongoing effort.

During his more than 30-year criminal justice career, Hall has served Davidson County under three sheriffs. He is on the National Sheriffs’ Association’s (NSA) Executive Board and Board of Directors; serving as that organization’s third vice president and will become the first NSA president from the state of Tennessee. Additionally, he served as the 101st president of the American Correctional Association and was the first sheriff ever elected to this position in the organization’s 141-year history. 

Seen as an expert in his field, Sheriff Hall has been interviewed by national and international media outlets, including Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, NPR, The New York Times, CNN and Fortune Magazine.