Thursday, June 4, 2020 - 10:16 am

Gov. Doug Burgum today accepted the resignation of Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DOCR) Director Leann Bertsch, thanking her for her 15 years of transformational leadership as she leaves for the private sector, and appointed DOCR Director of Administration Dave Krabbenhoft as interim director of the department.

Bertsch was reappointed as DOCR director by Burgum in December 2016, having served as director since first being appointed in 2005 by then-Gov. John Hoeven. She has accepted the role of Senior Vice President-Corrections for Utah-based Management & Training Corporation (MTC), the nation’s leading operator of federal Job Corps centers and one of the nation’s leading operators of private correctional facilities. MTC operates 20 correctional facilities and five detention centers in the United States, provides re-entry services to approximately 30,000 probationers and parolees in the United Kingdom, and operates, or partners in operating, 28 Job Corps centers across the United States. MTC offers academic, vocational, substance abuse and social skills training.

As DOCR director, Bertsch has received national and international recognition for her work to implement evidence-based practices throughout the North Dakota corrections system, focusing resources on long-term offender behavior change. Her resignation is effective July 31.

“Leann has reshaped the corrections landscape in North Dakota and beyond with innovative approaches and programs for youths and adults that focus on making better neighbors rather than better prisoners,” Burgum said. “We are saddened but not surprised that the private sector has recruited her for her talents and transformational leadership. Leann has our deepest gratitude for her 15 years of exceptional leadership at DOCR, and we wish her all the best in this next chapter of her career.”

In her resignation letter, Bertsch thanked the governor for the opportunity to lead DOCR and said the department “is well-positioned to continue the innovative work that it has become known for.”

“While this role has its challenges, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented corrections professionals in the nation,” Bertsch stated. “They are unsung heroes who perform demanding, sometimes dangerous, and always critical functions for the State of North Dakota. I will always be grateful to have (led) such a remarkable agency.”

Krabbenhoft has served with DOCR since May 2002. As director of administration, he has been highly involved in the state’s criminal justice reforms and is responsible for business office operations, budgeting, information technology, plant services and medical services for all DOCR adult and juvenile services. He has served state government since 1985, including with the State Auditor’s Office, Department of Public Instruction and the Office of Management and Budget.