FORSYTH – The State Board of Pardons and Paroles has announced the agency’s inaugural awards for community impact customer service, innovations, and employee of the year.

The awards were presented at the agency’s first “in-person” town hall meeting conducted since the beginning of the pandemic.

About 100 employees attended the meeting at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC) in Forsyth. Another 65 employees participated in the meeting virtually.

The recipients of the agency awards are:

Katherine "Katie" Turner Employee of the Year Award - Craig Flint, Chief Investigator, Clemency

Innovations Award – Human Resources Team - Eris McKennon & Persis Johnson

Community Impact Inreach Customer Service Award - Quana Simpson, Field Services

Community Impact Outreach Customer Service Award - Gerald Bazell, Criminal Investigator, Clemency

Chairman of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, Terry Barnard, delivered remarks to agency staff.

“It’s fitting that we select outstanding employees and that they receive proper recognition for their actions, contributions, and accomplishments,” stated Chairman Barnard.

“We also wanted to thank the staff for their commitment to public safety through their extraordinary efforts during the pandemic. Our employees are who make this agency great and help ensure our communities are safer,” he added.

Remarks were also made by new Board Vice-Chair Jacqueline Bunn and Board Members Brian Owens, David Herring, and Meg Heap.

Executive Director of Parole Chris Barnett told staff that he was proud to lead the day-to-day operations of such a strong public safety agency.

“Not only did staff perform and handle important functions of this agency during the pandemic, but they far exceeded all expectations,” stated Barnett.

“Our employees have gone above and beyond and in many instances improved or enhanced our overall operations. That kind of working spirit was the push behind our new annual agency awards,” he added.

Employees reaching service milestones were recognized as well. They included nine employees who have worked for the state of Georgia and the Parole Board for more than 35 years.

Katherine "Katie" Turner Employee of the Year Award (About Katie Turner…)

The Katherine “Katie” Turner Employee of the Year Award is given to an employee who consistently performs above and beyond what is required. This employee seeks out extra duties and assignments willingly and goes the extra mile without hesitation. Reliability, positivity, and self-motivation are qualities this employee exudes.

This year’s recipient began his career with our agency as a Parole Officer and has served in several capacities throughout the years.

Before the full onset of the pandemic, this employee anticipated the challenges that would begin to unfold. He and his team enter prison facilities daily to accomplish their job tasks. His primary focus was the safety of his team while ensuring the mission of the agency continued. He developed new operational procedures, utilizing technology to continue his unit’s critical mission duties and responsibilities. During the height of the COVID pandemic and at great risk to his personal safety, he continued to enter the prisons in what could only be described as full biohazard gear to fulfill his unit's mission. He took work to the homes of his staff, so they did not need to enter the prisons and risk exposure. He traveled across the state entering prisons to ensure the work of the Board continued without disruption.  His level of loyalty to the agency and the people who work for the agency would not allow him to step aside when work needed to be done. This level of selfless action, commitment to the Board, and dedication to his staff make this year’s Employee of the year award recipient so deserving of the award. 

The Katherine “Katie” Turner Employee of the Year Award recipient is Chief Investigator Craig Flint.


Innovations Award

The Innovations Award is given to an employee who thinks outside of the box. The employee finds alternate, better, and more efficient ways of completing tasks or assignments. This award winner might generate new processes that improve the agency's operations or improvises to complete the task/assignment when faced with an obstacle. 

This year’s innovation award recipients were responsible for creating two new websites that enhanced operations by making critical data and information accessible to managers 24 hours a day. 

This year’s Innovations Award recipients are Eris McKennon and Persis Johnson, Human Resources unit.


Community Impact Inreach Customer Service Award

The Community Impact Inreach Customer Service Award is given to an employee who has positively impacted the agency by volunteering, caring, and completing tasks for fellow employees.  

The winner of this award went above and beyond by assisting a fellow employee during a very challenging time. This individual personally visited a fellow employee, transported the employee to various appointments, delivered groceries, and ensured the employee’s needs had been met. 

The Community Impact Inreach Customer Service Award recipient is Quana Simpson, Revocations, Field Services Division. 


Community Impact Outreach Customer Service Award

The Community Impact Outreach Customer Service Award is given to the employee who consistently shows compassion and concern for the people and communities around them. This employee made a positive impact by volunteering, caring, and doing for others and making the world a better place for the recipients. 

The winner of this award is the founder of a non-profit program called Ambitious Young Men Incorporated, a program that mentors young men between the ages of 7-18. The young men are taught life skills and perform community service to steer them away from criminal activity. The program also partners with the City of Douglas Mayor's Youth Council and Teen Court. 

The Community Impact Outreach Award recipient is Criminal Investigator Gerald Bazell.


For more information about the State Board of Pardons and Paroles visit or contact Steve Hayes, Director of Communications at 404-657-9450 or [email protected].