Snyder picks University of Michigan grad to run state Department of Corrections
Gov. Rick Snyder today tapped Jackson County Sheriff Dan Heyns, a University of Michigan graduate, to serve as director of the Michigan Department of Corrections.
Heyns begins his duties on June 1.
Heyns, a Republican, was a vocal opponent of former Gov. Jennifer Granholm's actions to release more nonviolent prisoners eligible for parole.
The Department of Corrections accounts for about a quarter of the state’s general fund budget, with 34 prison facilities with a population of 43,900 inmates. Heyns is expected to study ways the department can rein in spending while keeping the public safe.
“Sheriff Heyns has exactly the type of skills we were looking for in a corrections director,” Snyder said in a statement. “His experience managing the sheriff’s department, operating a jail operation and his keen understanding of how local jurisdictions can work cooperatively with our state correctional facilities make him an excellent choice for director of corrections.”
Heyns earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from U-M in 1973 and a master’s in criminal justice, with a correctional administration focus, from Michigan State University in 1977. He obtained his state police officer certification in 1981.
Heyns has served as Jackson County sheriff since 2003 where he is responsible for a $12.5 million budget and a 450-bed jail operation. He previously served as Jackson County undersheriff and was a captain in the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.
After June 1, acting MDOC Director Dick McKeon will stay on at the department to serve as special adviser to Heyns. Snyder said McKeon's expertise has been crucial as the department has moved forward with finding efficiencies over the last four months.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's e-mail newsletters.