Corrections Secretary Retires;?Noem?Says He's Not Responsible For?State Pen Problems
The secretary of the Department of Corrections?retired Friday as the state prison system remains under?review.??
Mike?Leidholt served as the Hughes County?sheriff for 24?years?before Gov. Kristi?Noem?appointed?him as the?state corrections secretary in 2019.?
Noem placed Leidholt?on leave July 13 after?the state’s?initial investigation corroborated details in an?anonymous complaint. The complaint addressed?safety, pay, nepotism and other?problems?at the State Penitentiary.
Noem’s?office issued a news release Friday about Leidholt’s retirement and declined further comment.??
"While it is now clear the issues at the Penitentiary were the responsibility of others," Noem said in the release, "I believe new leadership is needed to address the ongoing challenges in our prison system."
Noem?previously fired the?warden and deputy warden, the director of the inmate-work program, and two unnamed employees. Three others were reassigned.??
CGL Companies, a California-based group, is conducting a comprehensive, third-party review of the entire?Department of Corrections. The task is expected to cost the state $166,410.
Tim?Reisch, the former head of the South Dakota National Guard, is continuing as the interim secretary of?corrections.??