DENVER - Gov. John Hickenlooper named Roger Werholtz as interim Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections.
"We are fortunate to have someone of Roger's experience help us through this transition," Hickenlooper said. "He has extensive corrections background and is well-suited to help us with the ongoing reviews of department operations and a search for a new executive director."
Werholtz looks to succeed Tom Clements who was murdered at his home by suspected prison-gang members in late March.
"I look forward to continuing the work begun by Tom Clements, who had set a course for the Department of Corrections that focused on the latest corrections research and practices," Werholtz said. "Tom strived to make Colorado a safer place for us all to live and raise our families."
Werholtz brings 28 years of corrections experience to the position. He will lead efforts already underway to evaluate the Colorado's parole system, work on the Prison Utilization Study, repurpose the Fort Lyon Correctional Facility and implement the department's strategic plan.
Werholtz most recently served eight years as Secretary of Corrections in Kansas and retired in December 2010. He had earlier served as Deputy Secretary of Corrections since 1987 and supervised all three divisions of the Kansas Department of Corrections: Community and Field Services; Programs and Staff Development; and Facilities Management.
Werholtz joined the department in 1982 after working as the first director of the Wyandotte County Community Corrections Program. He also has experience in community mental health, child protective services and substance abuse treatment and prevention.
As head of the Kansas department, Werholtz saw a 48-percent reduction in monthly revocation rates for offenders and a 31-percent reduction in absconder rates. He also helped lead the change in how offenders prepared for release and were supervised by parole officers upon release, emphasizing individualized supervision plans and responses crafted to each parolee that placed a priority on preventing negative behaviors rather than simply reacting to such behaviors.
Werholtz served as a graduate-level instructor in the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. He chaired the Kansas Criminal Justice Coordinating Council; was a member of the Kansas Sentencing Commission; the Kansas Reentry Policy Council; and the Kansas Sex Offender Policy Board.
Werholtz will start April 22 and work through the end of July as a search for a permanent hire begins.
Roxane White, the governor's chief of staff, will continue to lead the Department of Corrections Executive Team until Werholtz starts work.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)