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Leading Military Prisons

College of Criminal Justice Alumni Peter Grande and Major Andrew Deaton lead two top military prisons at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Two Sam Houston State University graduates are among the top staff at two military prisons at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, including the only maximum security correctional facility for all branches of the U.S. armed forces and a minimum/medium custody prison.

Peter Grande, a retired lieutenant colonel (LTC) with the U.S. Army, is now the civilian Chief of Staff of the Military Correctional Complex, which contains both the United States Disciplinary Barracks and the Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Leavenworth. He oversees the policy compliance, resource management, information technology, engineering and legal support at the two prisons, as well as serving as a senior advisor to the Commandant (warden), an active duty Army colonel. Mr. Grande is also the public information officer for the facilities and is the historian for the site.

Major (MAJ) Andrew Deaton is the Battalion Commander of the 40th Military Police Battalion (Internment/Resettlement) (Rear) (Provisional), responsible for the training, discipline, health and welfare of more than 670 military correctional specialists working in both facilities. There are more than 1,000 military inmates under the administrative control of the leadership of these two facilities, representing everything from pre-trial confinement to inmates sentenced to death to military parolees.

Both men earned degrees at Sam Houston State University: Grande received his Master’s degree in 1991 and Deaton earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1998.

"Sam Houston State University gave me my first look at the total law enforcement package from street patrol to corrections to the courts," said Deaton. “It gave me the basic understanding I needed to be successful in the criminal justice profession. It's not just about riding around in fast cars with lights and sirens. Police, the courts and corrections are inseparably interwoven, as they should be. My education at Sam Houston gave me a true appreciation of the challenges and rewards of what our criminal justice system does for this nation and gave me my first critical insight on how it truly works."

Grande was part of a unique program at SHSU in the early 1990s, which provided a fully funded master’s degree program for military police officers. Grande said he was mentored by the masters, including Dr. George Beto, who taught him about “management by walking,” and Dr. Rolando del Carmen, who instilled in him the need to keep up with new developments in the law and courts. Dr. del Carmen’s books still sit on his shelf in his office.

"I learned as much from them as I did from my academic courses," said Grande.

Grande said he also learned that to develop good policy, you had to be able to measure its effect, especially the impact it has on the entire system. For example, prisons are operated on good order and discipline, so when a new policy is proposed, you must measure its impact on security, logistics, litigation and the morale of both the staff and inmates alike.

Both military leaders have been around the country and world in service to the United States. During his 31 years in the Military Police Corps, Grande was a correctional specialist in Fort Dix and Fort Knox, a training officer and instructor at the U.S. Army Military Police School and commander, which is the equivalent of a warden, at two medium security correctional facilities in Germany and Fort Knox, Kentucky. He is also airborne, air assault, and ranger qualified.

In the international arena, Grande served as the Chief of Physical Security at the U.S. Army Headquarters in Europe. Grande was the Provost Marshal, equivalent to a police chief, for the U.S. Military Support Element in Grenada, as well as the Deputy Provost Marshal, similar to a deputy chief, for two infantry divisions in Wuerzburg, Germany. He was a physical security evaluator of deployed forces in Albania and Bosnia, and was the commander for enemy prisoners of war during the Kosovo conflict.

As a Certified Corrections Executive and trained auditor with the American Correctional Association (ACA) and National Institute of Corrections, Grande has served as a consultant on managing prisons in the Dominican Republic, Slovakia, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as well as on detainee operations in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

"We brought expertise to prisons that they didn’t have before,” said Grande. “Now the Army recognizes the strategic value of correctional specialists and their professionalism in handling prisoners.”

Deaton has had a diverse career all over the world, including two tours of duty in Iraq. He graduated from SHSU in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a major in law enforcement and police science. While at SHSU, he led a tank platoon in the Army National Guard unit located in Huntsville.

After SHSU, Deaton continued his military career, entering the active duty Army as a first lieutenant (1LT) Military Police Officer at Fort Riley, Kansas. He led a military police platoon for two years and later when promoted to captain (CPT), joined the base’s Criminal Investigations Division (CID) Battalion (Army felony detectives), responsible for managing CID unit manning across a five-state region.

After earning a Master’s degree in Business and Organizational Security Management from Webster University, he became a non-lethal weapons instructor and also earned certifications as a hostage negotiator and as a Special Reaction Team member, which is the Army’s equivalent to a SWAT team.

During his overseas service, Deaton assisted with security and intelligence operations in Korea and later, during his first combat tour, served as a senior Military Police operations officer in Iraq where he was the liaison to top Coalition Forces military and civilian staff in the Green Zone. Deaton was further responsible for the synchronization of the Military Police forces flowing into and out of the Iraqi theater of operations. He also helped establish and train the first Iraqi riot police units during this time.

Upon his return to the U.S., Deaton commanded a military police unit at Fort Hood, Texas. When he was promoted to MAJ, he was assigned to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where he was second-in-command of a basic training battalion, which trained 1,000 to 1,400 new soldiers at a time.

During his second combat tour to Iraq, Deaton was embedded with the Iraqi Army’s only mechanized infantry brigade, advising senior Iraqi officers on how to coordinate and execute effective combat operations to include securely holding captured terrorists and confinement of Iraqi military offenders who were sentenced to short lengths in jail.

When he arrived to Fort Leavenworth, MAJ Deaton was assigned to the 15th Military Police Brigade, where he served for a year as the brigade operations officer, helping to build the newly formed brigade staff structure, which has oversight of the two military police battalions and civilian staff that run the prisons there. In just over one year’s time, the team he was a part of developed the programs, training methods and logistical support for the unit, which grew from one battalion, with one prison (USDB) and approximately 400 Soldiers in 2009 to a brigade with two battalions, two prisons (USDB and JRCF) and more than 1,200 Soldiers in 2010. There are also more than 150 civilian staff members who are a key part of the brigade’s team, who work in both prison facilities.

MAJ Deaton joined the 40th Military Police Battalion in October 2010, and when the unit’s commander was deployed with troops to Iraq, he was given special authority to serve as commander of the remaining 670+ Soldiers, whose duties are within the two military prisons.

"Any time I’m in a troop leading position, it’s my absolute favorite assignment. It’s the best thing I, or any other Army officer, gets to do," Deaton said. “And my ACA training as a Certified Corrections Manager has definitely helped me understand the intricacies of leading in a corrections environment. The Lord has truly blessed me with a lot of opportunity, and without Him and the phenomenal team we have here, I wouldn’t be where I am today."

Mr. Grande and MAJ Deaton are still an important part of Sam Houston State University. The University’s Correctional Management Institute of Texas, represented by its Director Doug Dretke, had the honor to serve as a sponsor of the American Correctional Associations' Military Reception at their annual conference Aug. 6.

“This is one of ACA's most prestigious conference event, recognizing the sacrifices and efforts our military make every day on behalf of America," Dretke said.


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