Noem names Wasko to lead South Dakota corrections system

February 16, 2022 GMT

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The individual who will lead South Dakota’s correctional system comes from Colorado where she was president of a company that administers health care service to state and local corrections partners.

Gov. Kristi Noem Wednesday announced the appointment of Kellie Wasko as the new Secretary of Corrections, effective March 7.

“Her experience in corrections reform and her career-long work on correctional healthcare make it clear that she will prioritize the health and safety of both our corrections officers and the men and women confined at our facilities,” Noem said in a statement.

Wasko currently serves as the CEO of Correctional Health Partners in Denver, Colorado. Prior to 2019, Wasko served as the Deputy Executive Director for the Colorado Department of Corrections where she was responsible for the daily operations of 23 prisons.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to work on reforms with a team that values correctional professionals and public safety,” Wasko said.

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Doug Clark, who is serving as Interim Secretary of Corrections, will return to his prior role as Deputy Secretary of Corrections.

Adult institutions in South Dakota include the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls, Mike Duffee State Prison in Springfield and the South Dakota Women’s Prison in Pierre.