Governor appoints new head of prison systems

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By: Greg Ellison

The Colorado Department of Corrections new Executive Director was announced Friday. Rick Raemisch has been chosen by Gov. John Hickenlooper to replace Tom Clements.

Clements was shot and killed at the front door of his home in Monument by parolee Evan Ebel, according to investigators.

In addition to heading the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Raemisch has a lengthy resume which includes stints as a deputy sheriff, prosecutor, and elected sheriff. During his time as head of Wisconsin’s DOC Raemisch was responsible for over 22,000 inmates and 73,000 parolees.

“Rick is a nationally recognized expert in corrections and has a very diverse background in criminal justice,” Hickenlooper said. “He has a great understanding of crime and the criminal mind from his work as sheriff and prosecutor. He also understands that most people who are incarcerated will return to our communities and need job skills and treatment.”

Starting work in July under the tutelage of interim director Roger Werholtz, Raemisch will transition into a new role, while bringing well developed methods to the table. “I consider myself a strong law and order individual, but I also believe that people can change,” Raemisch said. “More than 90 percent of all inmates return to where they came from. They will go back in one of two ways: They will either go back angry and likely re-offend; or they will go back prepared to re-enter the community and be law-abiding citizens.”

Summarizing an approach which likely made him an attractive candidate, Raemisch said, “The problems facing corrections tend to be universal across the nation. Some of the major ones are dealing with the mentally ill, sex offenders, racial disparity, effective treatment and education programs and the overuse of segregation.”

Raemisch served in the Dane County Sheriff’s Office in Madison, Wis. from 1976 to 1988. Over the same period he attended law school. After one year as a Dane County Assistant District Attorney, Raemisch accepted a position in 1989 as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Madison.

In 1990 Raemisch was appointed sheriff in Dane County and was re-elected four times. After entering the private sector in 1997, Raemisch became commissioner for Wisconsin’s Tax Appeal Board in 2002.

In 2003 Raemisch started working for Wisconsin’s DOC, initially as Division Administrator of Community Corrections, and later as Deputy Secretary. In 2007 Raemisch was promoted to Secretary of the Wisconsin DOC.

Raemisch has been awarded numerous accolades including being named Wisconsin Law Enforcement Executive of the Year by Wisconsin Attorney General Jim Doyle.

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