South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has named the head of a Denver company that administers health care to prisoners as the state’s new Secretary of Corrections. Correctional Health Partners CEO Kellie Wasko will start the position on March 7th
Although she’s been in the private sector for the past 2 years, Wasko was previously Deputy Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections where she was responsible for the daily operations of 23 prisons.
Noem says Wasko’s “experience in corrections reform and her career-long work on correctional healthcare make it clear she will prioritize the health and safety of both our correctional officers and the men and women confined at our facilities.”
Wasko says she is grateful for the opportunity to work on reforms with a team that values correctional professionals and public safety.
South Dakota has been without a permanent corrections head since Noem fired Mike Leidholt and State Penitentiary Warden Darin Young in July following an investigation into an anonymous complaint from a prison staffer.
The staffer alleged supervisors and administrators of nepotism, sexual harassment, and improper spending on non-essential items and projects as well as general complaints about poor equipment, poor training, low pay, and dwindling benefits