ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Corrections is rotating several wardens to new prisons in an effort to bring fresh perspectives to the facilities.
Seven state prisons will get new wardens over the next three months, according to an internal memo the DOC sent to employees on Wednesday, June 5.
“The wardens at each of our facilities are incredible leaders … I thank each for their leadership and flexibility,” DOC Assistant Commissioner Nate Knutson wrote in the memo. “Stability in leadership is important, and our wardens have and provide that level of stability; but I believe by making these moves, we will provide the facilities division of the Department of Corrections with a change in perspective at all levels.”
Under the staff shuffling, five wardens will transfer to new facilities and two associate wardens will be promoted.
The staffing changes are as follows:
- Stillwater Warden Eddie Miles moves to St. Cloud,
- St. Cloud Warden Shannon Reimann moves to Lino Lakes,
- Lino Lakes Warden Vicki Janssen fills vacancy at Rush City,
- Shakopee Associate Warden Guy Bosch promoted to warden at Stillwater,
- Faribault Warden Kathy Halvorson moves to Shakopee,
- Shakopee Warden Tracy Beltz moves to Faribault,
- Willow River Associate Warden Bill Bolin promoted to warden at same prison.
Most of the changes will happen by July 1. The Faribault and Shakopee wardens will swap roles on Sept. 4.
The wardens at Oak Park Heights, Red Wing and Togo prisons will keep their positions. Oak Park Heights Warden Jeff Titus is also relatively new, moving there from the same job at Rush City.
Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said the wardens received the news well after processing it.
“I know it’s hard because many of them have developed new programs that they really would like to see come to full fruition,” Schnell said. “(But) if we’re doing this for the sake of leadership, there is never going to be a good time.”
Each prison has a leadership team that will help smooth the transitions, he said.
The changes are not punitive, and they will have no impact on warden pay, Schnell said. Some wardens will have longer commutes because of the changes, but the agency has measures in place to compensate them for it.
Schnell has mulled several changes since he took over the agency in January. He is also looking at longer workdays for corrections officers to improve prison safety.