Governor Walz Opens Application Process to Select Department of Corrections Ombudsperson

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Today, Governor Tim Walz announced an application process to select the Ombudsperson for Corrections to oversee the Office of the Ombuds for Corrections, which fields and investigates complaints about correctional facilities in Minnesota and provides policy recommendations to the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) Commissioner. Ombudsperson Mark Haase, who re-started and led the office for the past two years, has accepted a position with the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office and tendered his resignation, effective Jan. 5, 2022. Governor Walz will appoint Assistant Ombuds Margaret Zadra to serve as interim Ombudsperson during the application process.

“It’s critical that we build accountability and transparency into our corrections system” said Governor Walz. “I look forward to partnering with leaders from across the state to find the next Ombudsperson to carry on Mr. Haase’s good work toward achieving humane, safe, and secure correctional facilities in Minnesota.”

“In order to build a more just and effective criminal justice system in Minnesota, we must ensure that everyone – those who work in the corrections system, people who are incarcerated, and their families – can be heard,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “We will look for a dedicated public servant with a proven track record as a passionate advocate for justice to step into this role.”

About the Department of Corrections Ombudsperson

The Ombudsperson for Corrections oversees the Office of the Ombuds for Corrections, which serves as a neutral arbiter to field and investigate complaints regarding state prisons and county jails. The Ombudsperson also provides policy recommendations to the DOC Commissioner. The Office of the Ombuds for Corrections was initially established in 1972 by Governor Wendell Anderson in Executive Order 74-14 as an independent agency in the executive branch, then by the legislature as an independent agency in 1973. The office was eliminated by the legislature in 2003 but reinstated by a bill passed during the 2019 legislative session.

Additional information about the Office of the Ombuds for Corrections can be found on the Office of the Ombuds for Corrections’ website .

About the Hiring Process

Governor Walz will convene an advisory hiring panel made up of public- and private-sector experts to screen applicants for the appointment. The hiring panel will search for a fair, experienced, and civic-minded individual to serve as the head of the office designed to oversee investigations and develop strong relationships with corrections employees, incarcerated persons, and other stakeholders.

Applications will be accepted on the State of Minnesota’s hiring portal until Jan. 20, 2022.

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