Governor Kim Reynolds has appointed a woman who’s been working inside the state’s prison system as the new leader of the Iowa Department of Corrections.
Beth Skinner has been the department’s director of risk reduction since 2017, in charge of research, training and programs to reduce the number of paroled inmates who commit another crime and get sent back to prison. Governor Reynolds, in a written statement, said Skinner’s vision aligns with her own when it comes to rehabilitating offenders so they will be productive members of society when they are paroled.
The agency has been led by an interim director since December.
Skinner began her career in the agency as an intern in 2002. She left in 2012 to take a job with the Council of State Governments Justice Center and returned in 2015 for an administrative post in the Iowa prison system.
Skinner earned three degrees from the University of Iowa: a bachelors in psychology, plus a masters and a doctorate in social work. She and her wife live in Des Moines and are parents to three children.
Sally Chandler Halford was the last woman to be director of the Iowa Department of Corrections, appointed to the job then-Governor Terry Branstad. She served from 1993 to 1997.