Thomas (Tom) Lynn Clements, 58, of Monument, Colorado died Tuesday, March 19, 2013. He was a loving husband and father who spent more than 30 years serving the public in two states with the highest honor and integrity.
Tom was born on October 2, 1954 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Slayton (Buddy) and Vivian Clements. He attended Hazelwood High School before attending St. Louis Community College, where he earned an associate’s degree in Arts and Sciences in Criminal Justice Administration in 1977. He later earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Mid-America Nazarene University in 1979, and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Missouri in 1994.
Tom married the love of his life, Lisa Smith, on September 22, 1984. They were blessed with two daughters, Rachel and Sara.
Tom loved being a father, husband, a son, a brother, an uncle and a caring friend. He and his family attended Woodcrest Chapel when they lived in Columbia, Missouri prior to moving to Colorado to become a part of Woodmen Valley Chapel. He served in the youth ministry at Woodcrest and passionately mentored teen boys. He and Lisa worked together in the church’s Marriage Ministry mentoring young couples.
Tom loved the outdoors. Cycling, hiking, snowshoeing, and fishing brought him true pleasure. The harder the hike, the better: “Just one more mile . . .” He and his girls enjoyed travel, Elvis, adventure, family hiking trips in Estes Park, and theater.
Tom committed his life to serving the correctional population. He made the decision as a teenager, impacted by visiting his uncle in prison. Tom epitomized the public servant who fulfilled a true calling to service. He loved his staff and viewed their service alongside him as a pleasure.
Tom worked for 31 years for the Missouri Department of Corrections and the past two years for the Colorado Department of Corrections.
“He oversaw one of the coldest, toughest worlds with the warmest and most tender of hearts,” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said.
Tom’s first job after graduating from college was as a probation and parole officer on King’s Highway in St. Louis. Tom held the job from 1982 to 1986 before becoming a unit supervisor for the Division of Probation and Parole. In that job, which he held from 1986 to 1991, he developed and coordinated Intensive Supervision probation services for the Courts in the Central Region of the state upon moving to Columbia, Missouri. He worked closely with the judiciary, community service providers and local Citizens’ Advisory Boards.
Tom was promoted in 1991 to Regional Administrator in the Division of Probation and Parole. He participated in the development and administrative oversight of several sentencing options, including the Electronic Monitoring System, Regimented Discipline Program, Shock Incarceration Program, 120 Day Substance Abuse Treatment Programs and Long-term Treatment Programs. He chaired Missouri’s first Inter-Departmental Task Force for Implementation and Revision of the Sex Offender Registration Law. Tom had direct supervision of 130 staff in the region.
In 1996, Tom began serving as acting Chief State Supervisor for the Division of Probation and Parole. The position involved significant interaction with the judiciary across the state as well as other divisions within state government.
Tom was promoted in 1999 to Deputy Director of the Division of Adult Institutions. He had direct operational oversight for seven of Missouri’s adult correctional institutions, which housed more than 10,000 inmates and were operated by nearly 3,000 staff. The institutions ranged from low security to maximum security. Tom planned and opened a 2,000 bed Western Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center and provided direct supervision of prison superintendents. His job included significant leadership and strategic planning in the development of new programs, offender population growth management and operational initiatives within the Department of Corrections. Tom was the founding chairperson for Missouri’s Transition from Prison to Community inter-departmental Steering Team and an active member of the Missouri Re-entry Process Steering Team.
Tom became Director of the Division of Adult Institutions in 2007 and expanded his oversight to 21 adult correctional institutions and management of more than 30,000 incarcerated offenders. He served at the appointing authority for more than 8,000 divisional employees and resolved labor and management issues that arose with employee labor organizations.
Tom retired from the Missouri Department of Corrections in 2011 and moved to Colorado after he was appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper to work as the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections.
As the Executive Director he was responsible to ensure the safe, secure and humane operations of state and private institutions and parole operations. This included ensuring offenders had the opportunity to participate in educational programs, treatment and other services designed to effectively instill pro-social behaviors and promote successful outcomes.
Tom was committed to using evidence-based practices to improve safety inside the prison system and to improve successful outcomes with offender releases from prison to the community. He often met with employees at all levels of the department and sent a weekly message about important events, projects and news. He repeatedly asked: “How do we uplift staff?”
Tom was proud of the monthly Dashboard measures posted on the department’s website and shared with the public, the General Assembly and stakeholders. He wanted to know the numbers and he wanted to share the numbers. There wasn’t a meeting he attended didn’t include charts, graphs and data. He also made great improvements with recidivism and aggressively addressed issues around administration segregation.
Tom was an active member of the Association of State Correctional Administrators and the American Correctional Association. He worked with the Special Olympics and served as an adjunct professor at Columbia College in Missouri, among other professional and community organizations. He was involved with the United Way and was passionate about serving in the community.
Tom is preceded in death by his parents, Buddy and Vivian Clements, and his sister, Beverly McDonald. He is survived by his wife, Lisa, and two daughters, Rachel and Sara.
A private funeral will be held Sunday, March 24, 2013. A public memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Monday, March 25, 2013, at New Life Church, 11025 Voyager Parkway, in Colorado Springs.
Memorials in Thomas’ name may be made to:
Prison Fellowship: http://www.prisonfellowship.org/
Open Door: http://opendooryouth.org/
Correctional Peace Officers Foundation: http://www.cpof.org/