2019 E.R. Cass Awards

Congratulations to the 2019 winners of ACA’s prestigious E.R. Cass Correctional Achievement Award: David Donahue (Florida) and Mary Livers, Ph.D. (Louisiana). The awardees will be honored at a banquet held during the 149th Congress of Correction in Boston. Look for more information in the upcoming 149th Congress of Correction Planning Guide, which will be posted online in early April.



J. David Donahue
Senior Vice President 
President, U.S. Corrections and Detention, & International Operations 

Mr. Donahue assumed the role of Senior Vice President and President, U.S. Corrections and Detention, and International Operations with The GEO Group in January 2016.

Prior to joining GEO, Mr. Donahue served as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction. 

Mr. Donahue began his corrections career as a Correctional Officer. During his correctional career he moved up the ranks serving in various positions including Case Worker, Unit Manager, Executive Assistant and Warden of several facilities in the country. 

Mr. Donahue now serves as Vice President of the American Correctional Association (ACA) and is an ACA-Certified Corrections Executive. Mr. Donahue is an active member of ACA, and, a steadfast supporter of ASCA.

In 2017 Mr. Donahue was the recipient of the Louie Wainwright Award and, was honored at the ASCA 2018 Winter Conference in Orlando.  The Louie Wainwright Award was created in 2004, to recognize outstanding contributions to Corrections by an ASCA Associate who exemplifies the professional standards espoused by Mr. Wainwright. 


Mary L. Livers, Ph.D.

Livers Corrections Consulting LLC

MARY L. LIVERS, PH.D., is the owner of Livers Corrections Consulting LLC, and a part-time adjunct professor at Louisiana State University. Prior to being a consultant, she was appointed as the Chief of Staff at the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office reporting directly to the Federal Court Compliance Director in July, 2017 and resigned in February, 2018.  She retired from the state of Louisiana as the deputy secretary of the Office of Juvenile Justice in Louisiana where she was appointed by the Governor and served on his cabinet as the agency head of the Office of Juvenile Justice for almost 8 years.

Dr. Livers holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Master of Social Work, specializing in corrections and community intervention, from Louisiana State University. She also earned a Ph.D. in adult and higher education, with staff development and training specialties from the University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Livers career spans over the course of 42 years. She has served in a variety of responsible positions in both men’s and women’s prisons, as well as held agency wide positions in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Maryland and Louisiana.  She has served as Director of Research and Evaluation, Assistant Warden, Deputy Warden, Director of Classification and Programs, Warden, Deputy Director of Community Corrections, Chief of Staff and Operations, Associate Warden, Deputy Secretary of Public Safety and Corrections, and Deputy Secretary of juvenile corrections.  She is known as a dedicated public servant, a change agent, and a leader who is devoted to creating a positive, healthy, and productive work environment within the corrections community.

Dr. Livers served as President of the American Correctional Association (ACA) from 2015-2017, and has served in a variety of positions within the organization.  She is a charter member of the Association of Women Executives in Corrections and served as its first President. In 2011 she received AWEC’s Legacy Award, presented annually to an outstanding professional who has encouraged the development and contributions of senior and executive women in corrections. In 2015 she received the prestigious Susan M. Hunter Award from AWEC recognizing her lifetime career achievements. She was also presented with the Edna Mahan Award for Innovative Leadership.  She also was honored by being inducted into the Louisiana Criminal Justice Hall of Fame in 2016. She has traveled and presented internationally and most recently was chosen to be part of a team of executives to conduct leadership training with top corrections executives from Colombia, South America.