Helen Gladys Curl Corrothers (1937–)

Helen G. Corrothers is a well-respected figure in the world of criminal justice who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the United States Parole Board and then the United States Sentencing Commission in the 1980s.

Helen Gladys Curl was born on March 19, 1937, in Montrose (Ashley County) to Thomas Curl and Christene Farley Curl. Her father died when she was two. Following high school, Corrothers earned an Associate of Arts degree in liberal arts from Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock (Pulaski County). She then entered the U.S. Army, serving from 1956 to 1969. She earned the rank of captain. Over the course of her army career in the Far East, Europe, and the United States, she served as chief of military personnel in Fort Meyer in Virginia and director of housing for the Giessen Support Center in Germany. While in the army, she also continued to pursue her education, earning a BS in business administration from Roosevelt University in 1965.

Shortly before being discharged from the service, Curl married Edward Corrothers on December 17, 1968; they had one son and divorced in 1983. Following her discharge from the army, Corrothers began work in the Arkansas Department of Correction, serving as a social interviewer and then as an instructor from 1970 to 1971. Beginning in 1971, she served as superintendent of the Women’s Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). In addition, from 1976 to 1979, she was an instructor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Corrothers served on a number of statewide boards. From 1975 to 1978, she was on the Arkansas Commission on Crimes and Law Enforcement, while from 1976 to 1978, she was a member of the Arkansas Commission on the Status of Women. From 1978 to 1981, she served on the Board of Review for the Jefferson County Juvenile Court, and from 1982 to 1983, she was on the Board of the Committee Against Spouse Abuse.

In 1983, she left the Arkansas Department of Correction to accept an appointment by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the United States Parole Board. In January 1984, Corrothers assumed command of the Western Region, which included fourteen states and was headquartered in Burlingame, California. Her responsibilities included administration, release decisions, and the training of hundreds of probation officers. In addition, she had a number of quasi-judicial duties, including issuing summons, warrants, and subpoenas for the U.S. Marshals Service. In 1985, she was appointed by President Reagan to serve as a member of the United States Sentencing Commission, a position she held from October 1985 until November 1, 1991.

Following her service on the Sentencing Commission, she was a fellow at the U.S. Department of Justice, and she has also served as a criminal justice consultant to the department. In addition, in 1994, Corrothers was an instructor at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Among the many honors bestowed on her was the William H. Hastie Award from the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, the E. R. Case Correctional Service Award from the American Correctional Association, and the Outstanding Victim Advocacy Award from the National Center for Victims of Crime.

She was also selected for a Correctional Service Award by the Volunteers of America, an Outstanding Woman of Achievement Award from station KATV-TV, a Woman of Achievement Award from Arkansas Press Women, and a Human Relations Award from the Arkansas Education Association.

In addition, Corrothers served as a member of the National Board of Directors for the National Assembly of National Voluntary Health and Social Welfare Organizations, and she was a member of the National Board of Directors for the Volunteers of America. She also served as both an officer and member of the Executive Committee of the American Correctional Association. In 1990, she became the president of the association, after having previously served as both vice president and treasurer; she later became president emeritus.

At the end of her service in Washington DC, Corrothers relocated to Delaware, where she began serving as a member of the Delaware Assembly of the American Correctional Association as well as performing independent consulting work. She also became active in the community, working with the Maryland/Delaware Baptist Convention and Mission Foundation, serving in 2017 as chair of the convention’s Resolution Committee.

For additional information:
“Helen G. Corrothers—Criminal Justice.” Who’s Who of Professional Women. http://www.whoswhoofprofessionalwomen.com/listee-features/helen-corrothers (accessed November 15, 2018).

Prepared Statement of Helen G. Corrothers, Curriculum Vitae. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GPO-CHRG-BREYER/pdf/GPO-CHRG-BREYER-4-10-2.pdf (accessed November 15, 2018).

William H. Pruden III
Ravenscroft School


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