Robert Patton, who was named the state’s director of corrections in January 2014, said he would officially resign at the end of next month because he had accepted a new job in Arizona.
“It has been an honor to serve this agency, the state of Oklahoma and to work with the talented people who make up the department,” Patton said in a statement.
Patton said he had accepted the new job to be closer to his family; a spokesman said he has five grandchildren in Arizona and wants to spend more time with them. According to the corrections department, he previously worked in corrections in Arizona, where he had been a correctional officer and eventually oversaw operations at numerous prisons.
Gov. Mary Fallin (R) praised his efforts to reform the department’s operations and focus on rehabilitation and treatment for non-violent offenders.
“I appreciate Robert Patton’s efforts to keep our state prisons safe for both correctional officers and inmates,” Fallin said in a statement. She added: “I regret his departure, but I understand the importance of family and the need to be close to loved ones. I wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Anita Trammell, the warden at the state penitentiary where the problematic executions occurred, said in October that she was retiring. A spokesman for the department said Trammell had been considering retirement in recent years, and said she was not asked by anyone else in the department to step down.