PRESS RELEASE: DOC Secretary Strange Announces Senior Prison Leader Mike Obenland Appointment As Top Prisons
Released on August 24, 2021
Assistant Secretary Mike Obenland (DOC Communications Office)
TUMWATER – Cheryl Strange, Secretary of the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC), today announced the appointment of Mike Obenland as Assistant Secretary of Prisons effective September 1, 2021. Secretary Strange has entered in the department just as longtime prison director Rob Herzog retired. . Strange appointed retired chief Pat Glebe to serve as the acting deputy secretary of prisons while the department conducted a nationwide search, including several out-of-state candidates.
“I want to thank Pat for coming out of retirement and stepping up his efforts to ensure that our agency had a stable leader in the interim,” Strange said. “Pat was a known commodity and a trusted leader, which was essential as we searched for our next assistant secretary. “
“This role requires someone with a broad knowledge of prisons, including someone who understands the importance of safe and humane prison operations and the importance of preparing those in our care and custody to return to the prison. community. It includes listening and learning and a thirst for continuous improvement, which I know Mike brings to the table. Mike’s leadership has been invaluable in all the roles he has held for the department and I know he will continue to excel in his appointment as Assistant Secretary of Prisons.
Mike has worked for DOC for 32 years and has earned the respect of his team and those in our care and custody. Mike began his career in 1989 as a correctional officer at the Clallam Bay Correctional Center. He has held various leadership positions at five different institutions, including Superintendent of Clallam Bay Correctional Center and Superintendent of Monroe Correctional Complex.
Mike has extensive knowledge of prison operations and emergency response and most recently in his role as Deputy Director of Prisons, he has also worked with the department’s incident management team to support the COVID-19 response.