Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner Robert E. Carter, Jr. was appointed by Governor Eric Holcomb on January 17, 2017.
Most recently, Commissioner Carter served as the Executive Director of Statewide Security & Safety at Ivy Tech Community College since 2013. There, he was responsible for safety and security of the Nation's largest college, with over 100,000 students and staff at 40 plus campuses statewide. Prior to this position, he served as Director of the Indiana's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) where he managed over 1,500 full-time employees and was the main point of contact to the Indiana General Assembly, Congressional Delegation, and the U.S. Department of Interior, as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Resources Conservation Services.
While with the DNR, Carter served on the Indiana Counter Terrorism and Security Council, was the Director of DNR’s Division of Law Enforcement, and played a key role in the streamlining of DNR permit efficiency. He also was an integral part of the Governor’s Healthy River Initiative and oversaw the DNR’s acquisition and protection of over 50,000 acres of land and recreational trails.
Prior to working in State government, Carter spent 16 years serving two terms as the Clay County Sheriff.
Commissioner Carter has an Associate of Science Degree in Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Safety Management, and Masters of Public Administration.
Chief of Staff
Randy Koester is the Chief of Staff for the Indiana Department of Correction. In addition to directing the Department’s Legislative Affairs and Ethics Officers, Mr. Koester supervises the fiscal, human resources, construction services, research and technology, policies and procedures and payroll divisions.
He started with the Department as a Staff Attorney in 1991, and since that time has worked as the Agency’s Legislative Liaison, General Legal Counsel, Director of Intergovernmental Relations, Executive Assistant to the Commissioner, Chief of Staff, Deputy Commissioner of Administration and Deputy Commissioner.
He began his legal career as a clerk and became a staff attorney with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. He also worked for three years as a Deputy Attorney General, serving in the Criminal Appeals and Government Litigation Divisions in the Attorney General’s Office.
Randy has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Corporate and Investment Finance from Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business, and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Indiana University School of Law.
Chief Communications Officer
In June of 2019, David Bursten became the Chief Communications Officer for the Department. In this position he will guide and direct internal and external communications to share information with the public and media related to IDOC facilities across the State of Indiana.
David Bursten is a 41 year veteran of law enforcement. He has served as a military police officer in the United States Army and as a city police officer in Santa Monica, California. He recently concluded a 36-year career with the Indiana State Police (ISP) where he worked as a road trooper, as well as completed assignments in the Governor’s Security Staff and the Training Division of the ISP. From 1995 to 2019, David performed public information-related assignments while holding the ranks of Trooper, Sergeant, and First Sergeant. At the time of his retirement from the ISP he held the appointed rank of Captain, and served as the Chief Public Information Officer, reporting directly to the Superintendent and to the Chief of Staff.
Over the course of his public information career, David has provided media relations training for public safety professionals starting their careers, for veteran and command level police personnel, and private sector professionals.
David is a past President and current member of the Indianapolis Public Relations Society (IPRS) and is also a current member and past presenter to the National Information Officers Association (NIOA).
Deputy Commissioner of Operations
Deputy Commissioner of Operations, James Basinger oversees the classification, adult operations, parole and reentry facilities. Deputy Commissioner Basinger, a 27-year veteran with the Department, previously served as the Executive Director of Adult Operations. He began his career with the Indiana Department of Correction on December 21, 1991 at the Bloomington Work Release Center as a Correctional Officer. He was transferred to Wabash Correctional Facility (WVCF) in the summer of 1992.
Mr. Basinger held various custody positions while at WVCF from Officer to Major, also serving as the Emergency Squad Commander for seven years. He has been a Firearms Instructor, CPR/First Aid Instructor, Training Officer and Staff Development Training Coordinator for WVCF. He's also a graduate of the first Emerging and Experience Leadership Program. Mr. Basinger held the position as Major at the Putnamville Correctional Facility from 2000 to 2003. He was promoted to Deputy Warden in February 2009 at the WVCF then promoted to Warden in October 2009 at WVCF.
In April 2009, Mr. Basinger retired as Command Sergeant Major with the 76th Brigade of the Indiana National Guard after 25 years of service, beginning as a United States Marine. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and a third tour of duty as the 76th Brigade's Rear Detachment Command Sergeant Major. Mr. Basinger has a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and A Master's Degree in Business Administration.
Deputy Commissioner of Re-Entry
Deputy Commissioner of Re-Entry, Julie Lanham has over 25 years of experience in executive level positions in the criminal justice field.
After completing her degree in Criminal Justice from Indiana University she moved through the developmental positions as a probation officer to an Executive Director of Marion County Community Correction (Indianapolis, Indiana) for 11 years. Following that tenure, she owned her own consulting company that interfaced with privatized prison and jail leadership, where she utilized her broad expertise at the county, state, and federal levels to evaluate and audit the effectiveness of facility operations, complaints and re-entry programs.
Ms. Lanham was recruited to serve as the Deputy Commissioner of Re-Entry Programs for the Indiana Department of Corrections from 2005 to 2007. Julie was then recruited to serve as Territory Manager for a Dallas based company that provides diversified technology and security solutions for correctional facilities across the country. She was asked to rejoin IDOC in 2011 with the advent of sentencing reform and has served in the capacity of Executive Director and Deputy Commissioner of Re-Entry since that time.
Deputy Commissioner of Administration and Finance
Christina Reagle serves as the Department’s Deputy Commissioner of Administration and Finance, overseeing the Finance, Construction Services, Data Analytics, and Technology Divisions.
She began her career in state government in 2010 as an Accountant with the Department of Child Services. She moved to the Department of Correction in September 2011, and has held the positions of Accounts Payable Manager, Financial Analyst, Deputy Controller, Controller, and Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining state government, Ms. Reagle worked for JP Morgan Chase as an Assistant Branch Manager, and spent several years as a Staff Accountant at a local CPA firm.
Christina has served as a team leader and mentor for the Department’s Leadership Academy, a program that promotes self-awareness, self-assessment, and personal accountability to developing leaders from multiple state agencies. She also serves as an instructor and mentor in the Department’s Women in Leadership training program, a program focused on assisting female staff develop their leadership skills, improve communication with others, and understand their importance in corrections.
Ms. Reagle earned her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration at Indiana State University.
Chief Legal Officer
Jon Ferguson is the Chief Legal Officer for the Department. He started with the Department as a Staff Attorney in 2013, and since that time has worked as the Agency’s legislative liaison and ethics officer. He began his legal career as a clerk and became a staff attorney with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, serving in the Consumer Protection Division. Jon has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Conflict Studies from DePauw University, and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Tulane University.
Executive Director for the Division of Youth Services
Christine Blessinger serves as the Executive Director for the Division of Youth Services. Chris oversees all areas of the juvenile division to include; operations, case management, programs and re-entry. Chris began her career working for the Department of Correction in 2000 as a Psychiatric Social Service Specialist III at the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility. She served as a Program Director 2 and was promoted to Program Director 1 at Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility. Chris was then promoted to Program Director/Assistant Director of the Division in 2008 where she was the State Coordinator for Performance Based Standards (PbS) and Community based Standards (CbS). She was also responsible or program implementation, Comprehensive Case Management and re-entry services before being promoted to the Chief Operations Director of the Division in 2014. Chris is a member of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) and a member of the American Correctional Association (ACA). Chris is also a certified PREA auditor for juvenile facilities. Prior to working in corrections, Chris held positions of Youth Care Worker, Youth Manager and Case Manager at the Henry County Youth Center. Chris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology from Indiana State University.
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Kristen Dauss’ primary mission is to serve vulnerable Hoosiers by providing quality medical care to incarcerated individuals. Dr. Dauss’ experience includes working for the IDOC most recently as the Regional Psychiatry Director, while also providing direct patient care through the Division of Youth Services.
Dr. Dauss holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University Bloomington and earned her medical degree from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga.. She completed a triple board residency in general pediatrics, general psychiatry, and child adolescent psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine. Her experience allows Dr. Dauss the unique ability to examine systems of care and integrate physical and behavioral health needs to treat the whole person.
Dr. Dauss also served as a staff physician at Fairbanks in Indianapolis, Ind., treating the physical and mental health needs of persons with substance use disorder. She also taught students at Indiana University School of Medicine and Community Health Network, where she is a volunteer faculty member.
Dr. Dauss resides in Indianapolis with her husband and three children.
Click here for bios on our Executive Directors.