Warden Rustin resigns to face new challenges

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After six years of running the Allegheny County Jail, Warden Ramon C. Rustin has resigned from his position of Director of the Allegheny County Bureau of Corrections and Warden of the jail to accept the job of Chief of Corrections in Bernalillo County, N.M. His resignation will be effective Jan. 14.

“I am feeling mixed emotions (about leaving) I am sad to leave Allegheny County and my staff. There are great people that I’ve worked with in the county,” Rustin said. “But I’m also excited to start working at a new facility.” Rustin said he is looking forward to the change in environment.

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RAMON RUSTIN

Rustin has been involved in the corrections field for 30 years and in October 2004 became Warden after a national search. Prior to his position with the county he had been Deputy Warden of Security for the Chester County Prison in Pennsylvania. He is currently responsible for more than 2500 inmates.

In a release submitted by Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, he said, “Warden Rustin has been a valuable asset to Allegheny County…I wish him continued success.”

Onorato will appoint an interim warden until a replacement has been found.

During Rustin’s administration, he has been credited for being a leading force in the jail’s accreditation by the American Correctional Association, which was the first county run jail in the state to receive that honor; and for the re-entry jail collaborative that works to successfully reintroduce inmates into the system to decrease their chances of re-entering the criminal system, therefore breaking the cycle. Also, the jail has been one of few to receive various grants for its initiatives.

Among his many accomplishments, Rustin said he is also proud of the advancement the jail has made in regards to technology, with their new computer systems, video conferencing and more.

While he sees the improvements the jail is making, Rustin said he would still like to see the integration of systems between the courts, the jail and probation. He said, since each of those entities collects data, if the system is integrated, then the information can be shared and it is more helpful and beneficial to all parties. He added that the integration would allow the population of the jail to become more stabilized. “Right now the size of the inmate population fluctuates and it can cause operational hardships. If it is more stable then things can be done in a more orderly fashion instead of in a reactive manner.

While Warden Rustin has been successful during his time here, he said he cannot take all the credit, he feels it is mainly because of the staff he has worked with.

“I think I truly have a great staff. I hope they will continue to carry on and staff with the mission,” Rustin said about his staff working under a new administration.

Recently, Rustin received the 2010 Officer of the Year award by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement. Pittsburgh Chapter NOBLE President and City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Assistant Chief Maurita J. Bryant said, “As Chapter President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of NOBLE I am devastated to be losing two invaluable chapter members, Warden Rustin and his wife Jill Rustin. (Jill Rustin is a detective on the Pittsburgh Police Department.) They were both active members who contributed greatly to the goals and objectives of NOBLE and both participated in our youth and community service projects.”

Along with NOBLE, Rustin also serves as Second Vice President of the Pennsylvania Prison Warden’s Association and as a member of the Pittsburgh Child Guidance Foundation’s board.

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