By Associated Press - Thursday, April 29, 2021

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday appointed Cheryl Strange as secretary of the state’s Department Corrections, the first woman to lead the agency.

Strange, who currently is secretary of the state’s Department of Social and Health Services, replaces Steve Sinclair, who announced his retirement in January.

Julie Martin will serve as acting secretary until Strange takes the helm on May 15. Don Clintsman will be the acting secretary secretary at DSHS until a permanent hire is made.

Strange had previously served at DOC, working as deputy secretary from 2008 to 2011. Before her current role at DSHS, she previously served as CEO of Western State Hospital.

“Through her previous work at DOC and through her experience at DSHS, she understands the difficult issues around institutions and always brings a sense of humanity to the work,” Inslee said in a written statement.

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