In his forty-year corrections career, Commissioner Joseph Ponte has earned a national reputation as a successful reformer. He has a broad range of experience that offers a unique perspective and deep understanding of corrections system management.
Prior to his appointment as the Commissioner for New York City’s Department of Correction, Joseph Ponte served as Commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections since 2011, where he instituted substantial reforms impacting the management of the correctional system there. He has also served as director of the jail in Shelby County, Tennessee (which includes Memphis), where he led one of the largest jails in the country – helping transform the violence-prone jail while supporting its staff – and eventually led the jail successfully through accreditation by the American Correctional Association.
A native of Massachusetts, Ponte has served as a correctional officer, a warden, and as director and commissioner of corrections systems. He has served as a warden in jails and prisons in Nevada, Florida, Tennessee, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Commissioner Ponte is a Marine Corps veteran (1965-1969) and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Bridgewater State College.