Governor taps former trooper, investigation bureau head as new state corrections director

Brian Redd was appointed by Gov. Spencer Cox as the new executive director of the Utah Department of Corrections Friday.

Brian Redd was appointed by Gov. Spencer Cox as the new executive director of the Utah Department of Corrections Friday. (Office of the Governor of Utah)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox named Brian Redd as the new executive director of the state Department of Corrections on Friday.

Pending Senate approval, Redd will replace outgoing director Brian Nielson, who announced his retirement earlier this week after several violent crime victims claimed in a lawsuit that the department failed to supervise violent prison parolees. Nielson's departure is effective May 15.

"Brian brings a wealth of experience in management, logistics, security and law enforcement," Cox said in a statement. "We're excited he's willing to re-enter public service and look forward to his vision and leadership of the Utah Department of Corrections."

The position, which also oversees the Utah State Prison, marks a return to public service for Redd, who has most recently served as the vice president and manager in the compliance division at Goldman Sachs, according to a news release from Cox's office. Prior to that, he served 21 years in the Utah Department of Public Safety, beginning as a state trooper and working up to the role of a chief special agent and director of the State Bureau of Investigation and the Statewide Information and Analysis Center.

Redd will take over a department that has seen a raft of issues recently. In addition to the parole lawsuit, the department and the Utah State Prison have received criticism for a new inmate prescription management program that caused a backlog of thousands of prescriptions; a staffing crisis; several inmate attacks against corrections officers; and, two state audits that found there is a "culture of noncompliance" at the prison.

Nielson has led the department for more than two years and has spent 26 years in public service in Utah, including 10 years as Sanpete County sheriff. In a letter announcing his retirement, corrections officials noted that Nielson has overseen "historic raises" for officers and led the move from the old prison facility in Draper to its new location on Salt Lake City's west side.

"We're grateful for the contributions Brian has made to the state of Utah and appreciate his hard work and dedication," Cox stated earlier this week.

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Bridger Beal-Cvetko covers Utah politics, Salt Lake County communities and breaking news for He is a graduate of Utah Valley University.


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