Don has worked professionally with prisoners and ex-offenders for over thirty years. He is known nationally as a keynote speaker at major conferences, speaking about restorative justice, prisoner aftercare, and the educational methods most effective with prisoners. He was a speaker at the Prisoner Reentry , White House Conference, November 2007.
Don's research has led to meetings with judges and wardens in many countries including Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, France, Belgium, England, Italy, Russia, Kenya, Canada, and Mexico. He was a NGO Delegate to the United Nations Conference on the Treatment of Offenders in Milan, Italy in 1985 and had meetings with President Ronald Reagan, Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger and Attorney General Edwin Meese.
As a nationwide consultant, Don has played a key role in the development of ex-offender programs. He is the Chairman of prison ministry collaborations in Texas and Pennsylvania, and currently is a consultant to the State of Florida Juvenile Justice System in the area of mentoring.
Don has been quoted in major newspapers including The New York Times, The Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Dallas Morning News, The Orlando Sentinel, The Denver Post, and The Washington Post about subjects including gangs, school shootings, prison conditions, and prison reform. He has also appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows.
His professional experiences have included: Juvenile and Adult Probation Officer, Assistant Superintendent of a Maximum Security Facility, Director of an Adolescent Offender Drug Treatment Program (featured nationally on NBC News), and Director of an Ex-Offender Transition Program (which included mentoring/counseling/education).
Don trained probation officers for four years at Sangamon State University (Illinois), and taught criminal justice courses at Wheaton College and Trinity University (Illinois) for twelve years. He has authored nine widely read books. Three of his books about restorative justice have been college text books. He has also authored national magazine articles and contributed to several reference works in psychology and sociology.
A member of the American Correctional Association (ACA) for twenty-seven years, Don frequently presents conference workshops. He is a past member of the Fraternal Order of Police, and has received many awards.
Don has served on Illinois Governor Edgar's Gang Task Force, Attorney General Ryan's Council on Child Abuse, and the DuPage County Board's Blue Ribbon Commission on Jail Overcrowding (author of the final report).
As a leader, Don has been the President of three national organizations including the Institute of Prison Ministries, where he led a research team of sociologists studying programs affecting recidivism. He has visited over 1200 prisons in 12 countries.
Don is the host of the daily Dallas radio show Parenting Today's Youth with 29,000 listeners each day. For more information go to donsmartpresentation.org or download his articles at www.youthdirect.org.