FOR RELEASE: January 2, 2018
CONTACT: Judy Beck, 444-0409, email@example.com
HELENA – Department of Corrections Director Reginald D. Michael on Tuesday announced that attorney and Montana Senator Cynthia L. Wolken will join the department as deputy director on January 3.
“We are extremely excited to have Cynthia Wolken join our leadership team here in the Department of Corrections,” Michael said. “Her extensive role in assisting the state of Montana with justice reform and reinvestment will prove invaluable to the DOC as we continue moving forward.”
Michael noted that Wolken brings a unique mix of experience to her new position. As a senator, she chaired the Commission on Sentencing that was created in 2015 to examine Montana’s criminal justice system and recommend changes that would safely reduce incarceration statewide. In the 2017 Session, she subsequently carried many of the major pieces of justice reform legislation developed by the Commission.
"I have had the privilege of working on local and state corrections policy, moving the ball forward on the use of evidence-based programming, increasing access to mental health and substance abuse treatment, and saving taxpayer dollars,” Wolken said. “I look forward to continuing this work in the executive branch with the DOC team. Director Michael and his staff are top-notch and are committed to maintaining and improving public safety – I could not ask for a better team to work with and I look forward to joining."
Wolken’s experience also extends to local corrections policy. She drafted the Missoula City-County Jail Diversion Master Plan, an undertaking that brought together a wide swath of stakeholders to address jail overcrowding and create workable diversionary programs and policies.
Wolken has written and spoken locally and nationally on evidence-based justice reform and its potential to improve outcomes across the corrections system. She is currently vice chair of the Legislative Finance Committee and serves on the Criminal Justice Oversight Council – which oversees implementation of the justice reinvestment bills – and was appointed by Chief Justice McGrath to serve on the Judiciary’s Pre-trial Advisory Council.
Wolken graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and International Relations. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri.
Wolken will officially join the department on January 3, 2018. Her salary will be $117,790.
Former Corrections Deputy Director Loraine Wodnik retired on Dec. 15.