Governor Ned Lamont announced that Department of Correction Commissioner Rollin Cook will be leaving his position with the State of Connecticut.
Cook joined Lamont's administration when he took office in Jan. 2019. Before that, Cook served as executive director of the Department of Corrections in Utah. Cook said that his decision to leave the agency was based solely for personal reasons.
“This decision was driven purely out of the love I have for my family and the fact is I miss them dearly,” Commissioner Cook said in a statement.
“I view today as bittersweet having to leave the people that essentially became my family, while knowing in my heart that returning home to my wife and children is the right choice. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I was given to work side-by-side with the amazing men and women of the Connecticut Department of Correction," Cook continued.
Cook served as the head of the state's correctional system largely due to his 30 years of correctional experience, his passion and national recognition regarding advancements in prison reform and his core belief of treating everyone with dignity and respect, Lamont said.
Cook began his career as a correctional officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and chief deputy in the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Utah. He served as executive director of the Utah Department of Corrections from 2013 to 2018.
Lamont praised Cook's work as Connecticut's Correction Commissioner.
“Commissioner Cook has been a reliable, steady hand at our Department of Correction since I came into office, and I am grateful for his service and leadership,” Governor Lamont said. “He helped guide our prison system through a challenging and unprecedented time during this pandemic, and I can’t thank him enough for all of the work and thoughtfulness he has brought to the position.”
Under Cook’s leadership at the DOC, there are nearly 2,200 fewer offenders incarcerated today than on March 1. The prison system in Connecticut has recently seen one of the five largest reductions across United States, according to Lamont.
Cook is also credited with increasing staff in the correctional health care system, which now has more than 70 additional health services staff members than it did a year ago. Upwards of 40 health care employees have been hired since March 1, Lamont said.
Cook's departure will become effective on July 1.
Lamont said he has appointed Angel Quiros, the Connecticut Department of Correction’s Deputy Commissioner of Operations and Rehabilitative Services, to serve as Acting Commissioner while he conducts a national search to permanently fill the position.