Fletcher fired as Montana State Prison warden after 10 months on - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Fletcher fired as Montana State Prison warden after 10 months on job

Posted: Jan 24, 2018 10:20 AM Updated:
Michael Fletcher Michael Fletcher

Michael Fletcher, the warden at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge, was fired on Tuesday.

The Montana Department of Corrections confirmed to MTN News that Fletcher, who took over as head of the prison last March, was terminated as the warden.

The reason for his termination was considered “confidential,” according to Department of Corrections spokesperson Judy Beck.

Beck said Fletcher was still in his 12-month probationary period when he was released.

While no details were provided by the Department of Corrections, MTN News received allegations concerning Fletcher back in December by employees who wanted to remain anonymous.

MTN News was able to confirm that the Montana Department of Labor & Industry did receive one official complaint concerning the Warden’s office from 2017, but could not release that complaint because one of the parties objected to its release.

The Labor Department last week said the complaint could be released, but MTN News has not received it as of today, so we don’t know the nature of the complaint.

Fletcher was hired in March after replacing former warden Leroy Kirkegard, who retired in April 2017.

Fletcher will be replaced by interim warden Jim Salmonsen until a permanent successor is hired.

(MARCH 2017) Montana Department of Corrections interim director Loraine Wodnik announced on Thursday that Michael Fletcher, most recently the superintendent of a maximum security juvenile detention facility in Nevada, has been selected as the new warden of Montana State Prison. 

Until recently, Fletcher served as Superintendent of the Summit View Youth Facility in Las Vegas.  He has also served as Warden of Operations at Ely State Prison, a maximum-security penitentiary in rural Nevada. Fletcher worked for the Nevada Department of Corrections from November 2010 until August 2015.

“We’re excited to bring Mike’s talents and leadership experience to our corrections team,” Wodnik said in a press release. “He’s a good fit for Montana and we’re confident he will excel in advancing the positive initiatives already underway within the department.”

Fletcher’s correctional experience in Las Vegas also includes working as a child abuse investigator, a counselor, and a re-entry case manager who helped inmates successfully transition back into the community.  

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to serve as the Montana State Prison warden and to join the Department of Corrections team,” Fletcher said. “Warden Kirkegard has set the prison on a sound course, and I plan to continue the facility’s focus on providing a safe workplace and an environment that encourages offenders to better themselves.

“My family and I are very excited about the move to Montana.  We have fond memories of our time in Nevada, and we’re looking forward to making many more as members of the Deer Lodge community,” Fletcher added.

Fletcher graduated from the University of Phoenix, Las Vegas, with a Bachelor of Science in Human Services Management.  While in college in Omaha, he began working at Clarinda Academy, a residential facility for youth. That experience led him to a career working with incarcerated individuals.

Fletcher was born and raised in England, and moved to Bellevue, Nebraska, with his family as a teenager. 

Montana State Prison Warden Leroy Kirkegard is retiring on April 14 after serving five years at the helm of the state prison.

Kirkegard, 57, told MTN News last month that his five-year stint as warden has been “the most challenging and frustrating job I ever had,” but that it’s been an honor to work with the “professional, dedicated group of people” on the prison staff.

RELATED: MT State Prison Warden Kirkegard retiring this spring

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