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2019 Chaplain of the Year Named

Timothy C. Ward
Director of Public Affairs: 
Joan Heath
Contact Name: 
Lori Benoit
Contact Email:
September 24, 2019
2019 Chaplain of the Year Named
Douglas Simmons recognized


FORSYTH, Ga. –  The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) honored Douglas Simmons of Autry State Prison (SP), as Chaplain of the Year at the 15th Annual GDC Awards ceremony on September 24 at GDC headquarters in Forsyth, Ga.  Several key officials were on hand for the ceremony, which was attended by more than 400 guests. Making the award presentation with Commissioner Timothy C. Ward were Alton Russell, Board of Corrections Chairman, Christopher Clark and Donnie Pope, Board of Corrections, and Assistant Commissioner Jay Sanders.

“Chaplain Simmons is committed to providing support to the staff and offenders at Autry State Prison,” said Assistant Commissioner Jay Sanders “He is always willing to assist others whenever needed and provides a positive work environment for all those around him.”

Chaplain Simmons is always willing to assist others when needed, and through this willingness was instrumental in establishing the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Lovell Bible College at Phillips State Prison. He was also selected and trained for the inaugural GDC Peer Support Team, which began operating this spring, assisting staff who have experienced trauma in the workplace come through the aftermath with a heightened sense of personal strength and well-being.

The award is presented to a full-time Chaplain who exhibits extraordinary effort in providing and managing pastoral care for offenders and staff, contributes professional leadership by facilitating worship, education and counseling opportunities, provides timely spiritual direction and support during crisis events, supports the mission and vision of GDC, coordinates effective community volunteer efforts, and assists inmates in their re-entry efforts.


About the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC)

The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) has one of the largest prison systems in the U.S. and is responsible for supervising nearly 52,000 state prisoners. It is the largest law enforcement agency in the state with approximately 10,500 employees. For more information on the GDC, call 478-992-5247 or visit



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