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New Women's Prison Warden to take over next week

Montana Department of Corrections

The Montana Department of Corrections announced the hiring of a new Warden for the Montana Women’s Prison on Friday. 

  Current Deputy Warden for Treatment Services Joan Daly will take over as head of the 194-bed facility starting July 1st.

“The selection committee was really impressed by Joan’s extensive experience in mental health and by her thoughtful leadership,” Corrections Department Director Mike Batista said in a statement.

She takes over for Warden Jo Acton, who announced her retirement following reports, obtained by the Billings Gazette, that her leadership was responsible for a “hostile and unprofessional workplace.” Employees accused her of being emotionally unstable, profane and of conducting personal business while at work. She submitted her letter of retirement while on paid administrative leave for a formal investigation into her performance.  Acton had managed the prison for 18 years.

Daly has worked at the Women’s Prison for about a year. Before that, she was Associate Administrator at the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs for almost four years. She also previously worked for the Yellowstone Healthcare alliance in Billings and spent seven years as Director of Psychiatry for Billings Clinic. She holds a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from MSU Billings.

Batista said he understands Daly’s management style as being very collaborative.

“She’s very thoughtful, she’s very people oriented,” Batista said. “She just has a very good professional demeanor about her.”

“I am very excited about the opportunity to serve in the capacity of warden,” Daly said in a statement. “I believe that the safety and security of the staff, inmates and public are the first and foremost priority.”

She begins her new job next Monday. Her annual salary will be $80,000.

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