Florida Department of Corrections Banner, Secretary Mark S. Inch


December 23, 2021

Contact: FDC Communications
(850) 488-0420

FDC Mourns Loss of Former Secretary Louie L. Wainwright

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) today announced the passing of former Secretary Louie L. Wainwright. Secretary Wainwright was a lifelong public servant, appointed as Secretary of Corrections in 1962 and leading the agency for 25 years. As the longest serving Secretary nationally, he was a pioneer in the corrections field.

“The loss of Secretary Wainwright is not only a loss for those in the corrections field but also to the State of Florida,” said FDC Secretary Ricky Dixon. “Secretary Wainwright was a visionary and stood for his convictions refusing to back down when faced with adversity. His dedication and courage led to incredible change in the treatment of the incarcerated. He led the charge to create excellence in corrections and transparency of the entire system.”

Some of Wainwrights professional credits include:

  • A U.S. Navy Veteran serving the country during World War II
  • 1971; 78th President of the American Correctional Association
  • 1976; received the American Correctional Associations highest tribute the E.R. Cass award for outstanding service.
  • 1976; presented the Florida Sheriff’s Association Distinguished Service Award for “Contributing to the advancement of better law enforcement.”
  • 1984; Under Secretary Wainwright’s leadership Florida became the first correctional agency in the nation to be fully accredited.
  • 1986; Accreditation Achievement Award from the Commission on Accreditation of Corrections for his efforts in support of accreditation in Florida and nationwide.
  • Credited with being a conduit for U.S. Supreme Court cases guaranteeing the right of legal counsel to anyone accused of a crime (Gideon vs. Wainwright).
  • Contributions to international corrections work, educating European corrections professionals in Austria, Poland, Sweden, and the Republic of Ireland, teaching lessons pioneered and learned from Florida’s correctional system.
  • Secretary Wainwright will be remembered for his legacy of professionalism and advancement. While Wainwright was known for his humble demeanor and leadership style, he also made significant contributions to advancing corrections at every level and provided a foundation for corrections operations nationally.

    For more information about his career and legacy, please visit www.correctionsfoundation.org.


    As Florida's largest state agency, and the third largest state prison system in the country, FDC employs 24,000 members, incarcerates 80,000 inmates and supervises nearly 146,000 offenders in the community.

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