RALEIGH — Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks announced the passing of Deputy Secretary of the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice Gwen Norville Monday after a sudden and short illness.
Norville, 55, was named Deputy Secretary in May, with oversight responsibility for Prisons, the Office of Staff Development and Training, Combined Records, Women’s Services, and Correction Enterprises.
“Gwen was a passionate champion for correctional officers and prisons,” Hooks said. “She served the citizens of North Carolina with distinction and honor. She will be deeply missed.”
During her more than 30 years of experience in corrections, Norville’ s influence was felt in nearly every aspect of Prisons management and operations, from implementation of Justice Reinvestment reforms to correctional officer hiring and retention initiatives. She served in numerous positions of leadership prior to being named Deputy Secretary, most recently as Executive Officer for ACJJ. Earlier leadership positions include Deputy Director of Prisons, Director and Deputy Director of the Office of Staff Development and Training, Correctional District Manager, Operations Manager, and Correctional Training Instructor.
Norville devoted much of her career to training. She was a certified instructor since 1991 and earned numerous specialty instructor certifications during her career. In recent months, she oversaw the implementation of the current correctional officer training program, in which new officers are sent to basic training academy a week after new employee orientation. She was also instrumental in the establishment of the Correctional Officer Physical Abilities Test (COPAT) several years ago.
A Kinston native, Norville firmly believed in the importance of giving back to the community and to her profession. She started the Bertie County High School Public Safety Cadet Program in Windsor, a program designed to inspire students to consider careers in corrections and law enforcement. She led the way in developing and implementing a statewide first-line supervisory and mid-level managers’ training program, and helped open the Confinement in Response to Violation centers in Robeson, Burke and Buncombe counties.
Norville also served as a member of the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission. She was the co-developer of the R.E.A.C.T. model, a tool used to assist challenged prison facilities. An article appeared in the National Institute of Corrections Guidebook Series in June 2012.
Norville earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Mount Olive College, and an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Carteret Community College.
“The state of North Carolina lost a diligent and faithful servant with the passing of Deputy Secretary Gwen Norville on Monday,” said Chief Deputy Secretary W. David Guice. “The number of calls and the overwhelming outpouring of support received by the Department in just the first few hours after her passing clearly indicated how loved and well respected she was by her NCDPS colleagues and the community at large. Her contributions to the state of North Carolina will be felt for many years to come, through the initiatives she implemented and the lives of inmates, staff, and community stakeholders she touched. She surely made a positive difference and blessed our lives with her energy, sense of humor and generosity. We will miss her.”