DENVER — Friday, June 14, 2013 — Gov. John Hickenlooper announced today Rick Raemisch will be the next Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections.
Raemisch’s career spans three decades as a deputy sheriff, prosecutor, elected sheriff and head of the Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections, where he was responsible for more than 22,000 inmates, more than 73,000 probation and/or parolees and approximately 1,000 juveniles in institutions or on supervision.
“Rick is a nationally recognized expert in corrections and has a very diverse background in criminal justice,” Hickenlooper said. “He has a great understanding of crime and the criminal mind from his work as a sheriff and prosecutor. He also understands that most people who are incarcerated will return to our communities and need job skills and treatment. Rick is committed to implementing the strategic plan that Tom Clements established for the Department of Corrections, and we are pleased he is coming to Colorado.”
Raemisch will start work in July and have a chance to transition into the new role alongside interim executive director Roger Werholtz.
“I consider myself a strong law and order individual, but I also believe that people can change,” Raemisch said. “More than 90 percent of all inmates return to where they came from. They will go back in one of two ways: They will either go back angry and likely re-offend; or they will go back prepared to re-enter the community and be law-abiding citizens.”
During his time as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Raemisch and his team safely lowered the prison population for three years in a row for the first time since the first Wisconsin prison was built in 1850. He also built strong re-entry initiatives and saw positive results.
“The problems facing corrections tend to be universal across the nation,” Raemisch said. “Some of the major ones are dealing with the mentally ill, sex offenders, racial disparity, effective treatment and education programs and the overuse of segregation. I am honored Gov. Hickenlooper asked me to come to Colorado to lead the state’s Department of Corrections.”
Raemisch’s professional career started at the Dane County Sheriff’s Office in Madison, Wis. He worked from 1976 to 1988 as a deputy sheriff and then as an undercover narcotics detective, who also investigated homicides. During the same time, he attended law school and then joined the Dane County District Attorney’s Office in Madison as an Assistant District Attorney. He held that job for a year before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Madison in 1989 as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.
Raemisch was appointed sheriff in Dane County in 1990 and elected four more times. In 1997, he entered the private sector until 2002 when he re-entered the public sector as a tax appeals commissioner for the State of Wisconsin’s Tax Appeals Commission.
Raemisch joined the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections in 2003 and for the next four years worked as Division Administrator of Community Corrections, in which he had oversight of 68,000 probation and parolees, and then worked as Deputy Secretary. Raemisch was named Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections in 2007.
Since 2011, Raemisch has worked as Dean of the School of Human and Protective Services at Madison College in Madison. He oversees programs in Emergency Medical Services, Criminal Justice, Fire, Human Services and Early Childcare Education.
Raemisch earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a J.D. with honors from the University of Wisconsin Law School. He has received numerous honors throughout his career including being named the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Executive of the Year by Wisconsin Attorney General Jim Doyle.