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Deputy state Corrections commissioner resigns

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A dark haired woman laughs in a prison gymnasium.
Former Minnesota Department of Corrections Deputy Commissioner Sarah Walker talks to members of the Black Storytellers Alliance before a performance inside of Shakopee women's prison on Saturday, March 9, 2019.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Gov. Tim Walz is losing another top administrator, this time in the Department of Corrections.

Sarah Walker resigned as deputy commissioner Friday. She headed the community services division at the Department of Corrections and was part of Commissioner Paul Schnell’s executive team.

Walker came to the state post six months ago from a private-sector government affairs and public relations agency in St. Paul. Her lengthy resume also includes time as an instructor at Metropolitan State University and founder of the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition.

"In my short time as deputy commissioner, I have become convinced that my voice and skills are best suited for pushing for wide-spread reform from the outside,” Walker wrote in a resignation letter. “There are unique opportunities at the local and national level to advance significant reforms and reduce racial disparities and I feel compelled to contribute to those efforts without encumbrance."

Schnell also released a brief statement. “I value her contributions and hope to quickly find a replacement to carry on the important work of criminal justice reform,” it said. “I wish Sarah well in her future endeavors.”

Walker’s announcement follows the resignations of two deputy commissioners in the Department of Human Services last week. They rescinded their departures this week after DHS Commissioner Tony Lourey and his chief of staff quit this week.