Noem fires warden, deputy warden of South Dakota penitentiary

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 9:26 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Two leaders of the embattled South Dakota State Penitentiary have been terminated from their positions.

Gov. Kristi Noem announced Thursday morning the firing of State Penitentiary Warden Darin Young and Deputy Warden Jennifer Dreiske.

The firings come after an anonymous complaint about working conditions spurred a state investigation of the prison. Dakota News Now first reported on the complaint back in May. The complaint laid out a number of grievances, including low pay, nepotism in promotions, and sexual harassment.

Darin Young, left, and Jennifer Heiske
Darin Young, left, and Jennifer Heiske(State of South Dakota)

Young was previously placed on administrative leave following the investigation, along with Corrections Secretary Mike Leidholt. Leidholt remains on leave.

Noem says another high-ranking penitentiary staff member, Director of Pheasantland Industries Stefany Bawek, has been placed on administrative leave.

Interim Secretary of Corrections Tim Reisch, Bureau of Human Resources Commissioner Darin Seeley, and Secretary of Social Services Laurie Gill are continuing their work to support this ongoing investigation, according to a press release from the state..

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