The North Carolina Department of Adult Correction has recognized Warden David Millis of Craven Correctional Institution as its warden of the year, and its nominee for warden of the year honors from the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents.
“Warden Millis' commitment to professional development, innovation, and fostering a positive work environment has undoubtedly contributed to the success at Craven Correctional Institution,” said Secretary Todd Ishee. “His leadership style, marked by transparency, empathy, and a focus on continuous improvement, has elevated standards and inspired those around him.”
As warden of Craven Correctional, Millis manages a staff of 325 and a maximum offender population of 850. Craven is one of a few diagnostic centers, where male offenders are admitted into the state’s correctional system. It is also the busiest, processing as many as 7,100 offenders a year. A light day brings 10-15 new admissions, and a heavy day can mean 60 to 100.
Despite its regular flow of incoming offenders from county jails, Craven Correctional had remarkable success during the COVID-19 pandemic. Warden Millis implemented clustering and separation of offender groups that minimized spread of the infection. He also enforced strict cleaning/disinfection and personal protection gear protocols, keeping staff and offenders, as well as the surrounding community, as safe and healthy as possible.
In 2022, Warden Millis also served simultaneously for several months as acting warden at Bertie Correctional Institution, while the warden position there was vacant.
Warden Millis strives for excellence in all he does. That was evident this year when Craven Correctional earned recommendation for accreditation by the American Correctional Association, scoring 100 percent during the audit’s mandatory files and 98.5 percent on all non-mandatory files. Craven Correctional also received a 92 percent overall rating from NCDAC’s Division Audit Security Team.
He is never too busy to offer service on behalf of his staff and colleagues, whether it’s a fund-raiser for Special Olympics or the State Employees’ Combined Campaign (SECC) or recognizing outstanding Craven Correctional employees with monthly awards and prizes. He also regularly cooks for employee appreciation events, which is a natural fit for him, having won the SECC Chili Cookoff in 2019 and runner-up in 2023.
Warden Millis began his career as a correctional officer in 1998 at Pamlico Correctional Institution. As a tested leader, Warden Millis encourages staff to develop their own leadership abilities. He was instrumental in organizing DAC’s All-In initiative, a facility-centered campaign to provide employees a role in improving workplace conditions and morale.
Millis is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and a resident of Washington, NC.