VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - The Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Gregory C. Dozier the promotion of a new warden at Valdosta State Prison Thursday.
Don Blakely will begin his role as warden on August 21, and replaces Stanley Williams.
He will be responsible for overseeing over 400 staff members and around 1,300 close security male inmates.
"In his almost 30 years of service with the Department, Don has succeeded in every role he has held," said Commissioner Dozier. "His knowledge and experience will greatly benefit the staff and offenders at Valdosta State Prison."
Blakely started with the DOC as a corrections officer in 1989 at Central State Prison. He was promoted to Sergeant at the prison in 1992.
Two years later, Blakely was promoted to Lieutenant at Pulaski State Prison.
In 2006, he was promoted to Chief of Security at Macon State Prison. There, he was promoted to Unit Manager in 2008 and Deputy Warden of Security in 2012.
He accepted his most current position, Facility Auditor with the Office of Professional Standards in 2017.
Several inmates have died in custody at VSP in the last 15 years-
Anthony Hann, Jr. was killed at Valdosta State on August 14, 2017
Thomas Willis died at Valdosta State Prison on February 20, 2017
Dominique Hurt died at VSP on June 20, 2016
Cody Vestal and Richard Strickland died at VSP on February 10, 2016
Demarquis Cainion died September 17, 2013
Darryl "Mac Jones" Christmas was killed on November 30, 2012
Estaban Pineda was killed July 1, 2011
John Arnett was killed on January 24, 2010
Etete Essang was killed in October 2008
Christopher Cash Robinson was killed June 27, 2002
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