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Redmann looks to new positions in the DOC

James River Correctional Center’s Warden Don Redmann is taking a new position with the North Dakota State Penitentiary, leaving JRCC’s top spot open.

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“We hope to conduct interviews for the James River warden position next week Friday,” Redmann said.

Redmann has already vacated his position and it has been posted within the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation so that staff can apply for it, he said.

His new position as director of facility operations for the North Dakota State Penitentiary system means that Redmann will oversee the adult facility institutions in North Dakota, focusing on operations, policies and procedures.

“It’s a great opportunity to help. Our mission really is to keep inmates from returning to prison, reducing our recidivism rate,” Redmann said, adding that he looks forward to helping institutions and wardens reach their goals.

Redmann will also serve as the interim warden of the North Dakota State Penitentiary in Bismarck beginning March 1, following the resignation of Robyn Schmalenberger.

The time frame for Redmann’s interim position remains open-ended.

“Rather than rush into filling the warden’s job (at the North Dakota State Penitentiary) really quickly, they felt it’s a good opportunity to evaluate what’s going on and how things are moving,” Redmann said.

He intends to commute to Bismarck on a short-term basis, and then “see how things go.”

In addition to his interim work and his new position as director of facility operations, Redmann has also been asked to be on the hiring committee interviewing candidates for the open warden position at JRCC.

The committee is seeking someone with strong leadership skills, an understanding of and support for the state’s mission within the Department of Corrections, commitment and dedication, Redmann said.

“We’ve done a very good job within the DOC to really try to develop our staff and try to get them ready for the next level, so I’m looking forward to giving someone else within the DOC an opportunity to step up and serve in that role,” Redmann said.

The committee will make a recommendation to Department Director Leann Bertsch, who will make the final decision.

JRCC received its first inmates in June 1998, and Redmann, who had been working at the North Dakota State Penitentiary, was its first warden.

Initially, the capacity of JRCC was about 200 people, and at one time women were inmates there as well as men. The medium security facility later expanded into the fifth and sixth floors of its building and its capacity increased.

Currently, JRCC has about 415 inmates, all of whom are men.

“We’ve really focused on our rehabilitative programming,” Redmann said. “Our treatment programs, education programs have expanded to try to focus on giving inmates the opportunities to learn the skills they need to stay out of prison.”

Staff training has also become a major focus at JRCC over the years, with plenty of training in effective communication.

“We’ve spent a lot of time and resources on using evidence-based practices — what treatment programs work, what education programs work — so that we can maximize our resources and keep inmates from returning to prison,” Redmann said.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by email at