South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is squashing corruption in her state, announcing that two leaders have been terminated from their positions.
Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican, has announced that two leaders of the embattled South Dakota State Penitentiary have been fired from their positions.
When an anonymous complaint about working conditions in the prison — including low pay, nepotism in promotions, and sexual harassment — a state investigation of the penitentiary was conducted.
Following the investigation, Noem announced the firing of State Penitentiary Warden Darin Young and Deputy Warden Jennifer Dreiske.
“At 7pm I was briefed on an internal review conducted by BHR. In light of that report, I have placed DOC Sec. Mike Leidholt and Warden Darin Young on administrative leave. I am appointing Tim Reisch as interim DOC secretary and Doug Clark as acting warden of the State Penitentiary,” the governor said in a tweet.
At 7pm I was briefed on an internal review conducted by BHR. In light of that report, I have placed DOC Sec. Mike Leidholt and Warden Darin Young on administrative leave. I am appointing Tim Reisch as interim DOC secretary and Doug Clark as acting warden of the State Penitentiary
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) July 14, 2021
“My top priority as governor is keeping South Dakotans safe, and that includes the men and women who work at the State Penitentiary and those who are confined there,” said Governor Noem.
Young had already been placed on administrative leave following the investigation, along with Corrections Secretary Mike Leidholt, who is still on leave.
Noem also noted that another high-ranking prison staff member, Director of Pheasantland Industries Stefany Bawek, has been placed on administrative leave.
According to a report from the state’s official website, Governor Noem has asked Doug Clark, the Deputy Secretary of Corrections, to step in as acting warden of the State Penitentiary until a longer-term interim warden can be named. She has also assigned Commissioner of the Bureau of Human Resources Darin Seeley and the Secretary of Social Services Laurie Gill to work from the prison and help Acting Warden Clark in continuing the internal review, as well as assisting in commissioning an independent third party to investigate the prison and offer additional recommendations.