Wetzel, Byars To Head Corrections Agencies In PA, SC


New corrections directors have been designated in both Pennsylvania and South Carolina, where new governors are taking office next month. Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Tom Corbett named John Wetzel, 41, warden of the Franklin County Jail, to run the corrections department, reports the Allentown Morning Call. Corbett also named Frank Noonan,, 64, state police commissioner. Wetzel, who began his career as a prison guard, has been head of the Franklin County jail since 2002. In 2007, Gov. Ed Rendell appointed Wetzel to the state Board of Pardons, where he serves as the board’s corrections expert. Shirley Moore Smeal is acting head of the prison system.

In South Carolina, Gov.-elect Nikki Haley chose Department of Juvenile Justice director Bill Byars to run the state’s prisons, the Associated Press reports. Margaret Barber, Byars chief of staff, would be Juvenile Justice director. Byars, a former Family Court judge, would replace Jon Ozmint, who has led the agency since 2003. Ozmint praised Byars. Haley said Byars turned the Department of Juvenile Justice into a model, reforming it from an agency that was enmeshed in a 1995 federal lawsuit. “And he has made it one of the biggest success stories in the country,” Haley said. “This is a man that is known as Mr. Fix-it. And we are sending Mr. Fix-it to the Department of Corrections,” calling on him to do more to rehabilitate inmates and reduce recidivism. “We are changing the culture of corrections and we want a success story now coming out of the Department of Corrections.”

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