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Jamestown native takes the reins at county jail

Chad Jackson has been on the job for about four weeks as the new Stutsman County jail administrator. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Chad Jackson is the new jail administrator for the Stutsman County Correctional Center.

Jackson, a Jamestown High School and University of Jamestown graduate, was hired March 3 to replace Tracy Trapp, the former jail administrator who resigned Jan. 1.

Jackson has experience with the SCCC, as he worked there from 1997 to 1999 as a corrections officer while earning a degree in criminal justice from UJ.

“One of my instructors at the college was the jail administrator at the time,” he said. “She mentioned there were some positions open at the jail (SCCC), so I applied.”

Jackson graduated from UJ in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree and was hired as a corrections officer at at the James River Correctional Center. He worked for 14 1/2 years at the JRCC and as a case manager prior to being promoted to shift captain.

Jackson was working as a shift captain at JRCC when he applied for the county jail administrator position.

Casey Bradley, Stutsman County auditor and chief operating officer, said Jackson was one of 14 applicants and was only one of four state residents who applied.

Sheriff Chad Kaiser, Jim Nygaard, a member of the Stutsman County Law Enforcement Center advisory board and Steve Engen, a state jail inspector, along with Bradley, interviewed five applicants for the jail administrator position.

 Bradley said Jackson stood out from the rest of the applicants due to his experience with policy and procedures working at the JRCC.

“He has experience with the North Dakota corrections system, experience in training staff, planning and he had a supervisory background,” Casey said. “He was a unanimous pick by everyone on the committee.”

Bradley said Jackson’s experience with North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation policies and procedures is important as the SCCC was flagged in a report from the DOCR last year for problems with staffing and adhering to the state department’s policies and procedures.

The staffing problem was addressed by adding a sergeant to the staff, according to Bradley.

Jackson said there are 25 members of the security staff at the SCCC. The capacity for the SCCC is 94 inmates, and the jail averages about 70 inmates on any given day.

“Like any facility or any business, the staff makes or breaks the facility,” he said. “What I’ve learned in my four weeks here is I have a very good core staff. They take pride in their jobs and work hard to fulfill the duties placed upon them.”

Jackson doesn’t see a lot of changes taking place anytime soon with the SCCC. He said over the next 12 months he will review and revise the SCCC’s policies and procedures to ensure they fall under the guidelines set by the DOCR.

Jackson said he was excited when he heard he had gotten the job.

“I went into this, applying for the job, with the expectation of getting it,” he said.

Jackson said working in corrections is rewarding.

“In corrections you’re doing a lot of good for society, but you’re also doing good for individuals,” he said. Most rewarding for Jackson is when he sees an inmate work hard while incarcerated and is transformed into a positive influence upon leaving.

“The goal is they don’t return,” Jackson said.

Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454