Whalen Gibbs served the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections for 34 years. He was appointed by Governor Kathleen Blanco to serve as Assistant Secretary for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety in May 2004 with a primary focus of holding incarcerated individuals accountable for their action, while also providing them with rehabilitation opportunities that would improve the likelihood of their successful reentry. He was reappointed Assistant Secretary in 2008, and 2012 by Governor Bobby Jindal.
Prior to his appointment as Assistant Gibbs had a distinguished careers with the Louisiana Division of Probation and Parole which began in 1981 as a Probation and Parole Specialist I, in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Within the Division of Probation and Parole Gibbs has held the positions of Supervisor, Program Manager, and Deputy Director. During his tenure in the Division of Probation and Parole, Gibbs distinguished himself as a leader and developed a reputation for fundamental fairness and inclusion for staff as well as for the men and women assigned to the custody of the Division of Probation and Parole. He was one of the primary proponents that assisted with ushering in major innovative programs such as Intensive Incarceration Supervision, which provided supervision for individuals that completed the Intensive Motivational Program of Alternative Correctional Treatment (IMPACT).
During his tenure as Assistant Secretary, Gibbs has collaborated with community and faith-based organizations to assist with identifying as well as providing resources for returning citizens. Through partnership with Catholic Charities, the Louisiana Serve Commission and AmeriCorps, he assisted with the establishment of the Cornerstone Builders Program. The Program provides education opportunities, civic service to the community by returning citizens, and a holistic approach to reentry which holds the individual accountable while allowing them to build a trust account within the community.
Gibbs was recognized by his peers as the Probation and Parole Officer of the Year in 1996. Based on his work in Reentry, he received a Visionary Award for Change in 2013. In August 2015, he received the “Reentry Award” from the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame. Since 2015, He has been President of 100 Black Men of Greater Lafayette, Incorporated which is an organization committed to providing mentoring to inner city youths. He has been a past Vice President of the Lafayette Chapter of the NAACP. He has been a member of American Corrections Association, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and the Louisiana Probation and Parole Officers Association (LPPOA) where he served in a position Executive Board Member. Gibbs was also appointed by Governor Foster to serve on the Louisiana Risk Review Panel and currently serves on the Louisiana Corrections Facilities Corporation.
Gibbs is especially proud his native Clinton, Louisiana where he attended 8th Ward Elementary School and also equally proud of his roots in Elton, Louisiana where he grew up and graduated from Elton High School in1975. He feels that the teachers at 8th Ward and Katie B. Thomas in Elton, along with his mother (Gladys) set him on a solid foundation that helped to make him the man that he is today. Gibbs earned a BS in Criminal Justice from LSU in 1979.
Gibbs has been dedicated to public service, but is deeply committed to family. He has been married to Monica Blaise Gibbs for 35 years and they are the parents of two children and they have one grand-daughter.