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Westminster College Welcomes John Wetzel, Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Posted on Monday, March 18, 2013

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Westminster College's Department of Criminal Justice will welcome John Wetzel, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, April 4 at 7 p.m. in the Witherspoon Room of McKelvey Campus Center. The event is open to the public.

Wetzel is the keynote speaker for Westminster's Innovative Strategies in Criminal Justice Symposium taking place April 4-5. Wetzel has over two decades of experience in the corrections field with positions as a corrections officer, treatment counselor, supervisor of treatment services, training academy director, and warden.  He was appointed as the corrections expert to the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons in 2007, and was appointed secretary of the Department of Corrections in 2010.

Wetzel has presented statewide and nationally on topics such as inmate labor issues, the mentally ill in corrections, jail staffing and conducting vulnerability assessments. He has also had several articles published and been part of efforts resulting in reduced jail population.

The "Girls on the Wall" documentary will be shown at 9 p.m. following Wetzel's talk and is presented by Westminster's Sociology Interest Group.

Mark Bergstrom, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing will speak during lunch April 5 at 11:45 a.m.

The goal of the symposium is to discuss innovative responses to contemporary problems in the criminal justice system. Undergraduate students will have an opportunity to present posters or papers based on research in criminal justice topics such as new policies in policing, courts or prisons; the impact of recent criminal justice policies, critiques of current criminal justice programs, theoretical work in criminal justice, and research on individuals, employees or clients within the criminal justice system.

The symposium will also include career networking panelists; and guest panelists from the Allegheny County Jail, Program Management at Renewal, Inc., and Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County and Mercer County Juvenile Probation.

High school students, teachers, researchers and practitioners are encouraged to attend. Registration is due by April 2. Call (724) 946-7253 or email to register or for additional information.

Visit for additional information on Westminster College's criminal justice program.

John Wetzel, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections