- Associated Press - Monday, December 5, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho Department of Correction Director Kevin Kempf is resigning to take a job as the executive director of the Association of State Correctional Administrators.

Kempf gave the state Board of Correction his resignation on Monday, he said in an email, calling the decision bittersweet.

In the email, he said the state is headed in a good direction, crediting lawmakers, the governor’s office, members of the state judiciary and other criminal justice officials for working together. His new role leading the national association will allow him to lobby for correctional professionals across the country, Kempf said.

The state’s correctional system has undergone major changes since Kempf became the prison director in 2014. Under his leadership, the department overhauled its treatment programs and phased out the use of solitary confinement.

Prisoner segregation reform is also a significant issue with the Association of State Correctional Administrators - a point Kempf mentioned when the phase-out began in 2015.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said he was proud that Kempf would be bringing his experience and skills he gained in Idaho on a national level.

“Kevin proved himself to be a great director over the past two years, during which the Idaho Department of Correction made dramatic improvements in its operations,” Otter said in a prepared statement. “He also was instrumental in implementing sweeping reforms to our entire criminal justice system. His leadership will be sorely missed.”

The Board of Correction is expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss potential replacements for Kempf and make related decisions. Kempf’s resignation is effective Dec. 16.

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