Utah Department of Corrections
Mike Haddon has been tapped by Gov. Gary Herbert yo lead the Utah Department of Corrections. Herbert announced the appointment on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018.

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert has promoted Utah's deputy corrections boss to lead the state's prison and parole systems.

Mike Haddon, who was second in command for 11 years, will head the Utah Department of Corrections, Herbert announced Tuesday. In his new job, Haddon will join other state officials in overseeing the design and completion of a new, nearly $650 million prison just west of Salt Lake City.

Herbert said Haddon has worked in criminal justice for almost three decades.

"He is clearly a talented individual. Most importantly, he understands that we cannot simply warehouse inmates," Herbert said. "Instead, we need to focus on rehabilitating people and helping them lead better lives and prepare to be productive citizens."

Haddon, who has focused on creating best practices and helping offenders readjust to society after their release, said in a statement that department employees are talented and work hard.

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"Utah has a lot of critically important work ahead related to corrections, and I am confident that, together, we will move the work forward with positive results," Haddon said.

Haddon succeeds former Executive Director Rollin Cook, who stepped down in April, around the time it was revealed the department withheld medical records in a death penalty case. The department said it had misinterpreted the judge's order and announced it was changing policies after a broader review found 74 cases may have had the same error.

Haddon previously was director of research for Utah's Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice and Sentencing Commission.