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Warden steps down at State Penitentiary:

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BISMARCK — Robyn Schmalenberger worked her last day Thursday as warden of the North Dakota State Penitentiary.

Schmalenberger had served as warden since May 2010. She resigned Feb. 14, asking that she be allowed to use two weeks of annual leave prior to her last day of employment on March 7.

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Her resignation letter did not list her reason for resigning.

“She’s just exploring some other stuff. She’s got other employment,” said Tim Tausend, spokesman for the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Tausend said he could not release information about Schmalenberger’s other employment. He said she wasn’t available for an interview Thursday.

Department Director Leann Bertsch informed staff of the resignation in an email Wednesday.

“I and the Department owe Robyn our sincere thanks for her twenty years of hard work and dedication improving the outcomes for offenders,” Bertsch wrote.

As warden, Schmalenberger oversaw the largest construction project in the prison’s 129-year history, a $64 million expansion and renovation, Bertsch noted.

In her resignation letter to Bertsch, Schmalenberger wrote, “I appreciate the support and leadership you provided, especially during the (prison) expansion.”

Bertsch also informed staff that James River Correctional Center Warden Don Redmann will serve as interim warden of the State Penitentiary and help Bertsch identify potential candidates for the job.

Redmann also will fill the newly created position of director of facility operations, reporting directly to Bertsch and overseeing and supervising the wardens, she stated in the email.

Redmann has worked for the department for almost 30 years, including nearly 16 years as warden of the James River facility.

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Mike Nowatzki
Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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