Skip to main content

PRESS RELEASE: Sean Murphy Appointed Deputy Secretary of Correctional Operations for Department of Corrections

Released June 16, 2021

Contact Jacque Coe, (360) 890-0381

Communications Office

portrait sean murphy

Sean Murphy

TUMWATER – Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Cheryl Strange has appointed former corrections leader Sean Murphy as Deputy Secretary of Correctional Operations for the department. Murphy has been on executive loan to assist Corrections with various efforts from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) where he served as Assistant Secretary of the Behavioral Health Administration. In his role as Deputy Secretary of Correctional Operations, Murphy’s position will continue to have responsibility and oversight of DOC’s Prisons, Community Corrections, Health Services, and Reentry administrations. Murphy replaces Julie Martin, whom Strange has named DOC Chief of Staff.

“As Assistant Secretary of the Behavioral Health Administration at DSHS, Sean has been instrumental in the development of implementing Governor Inslee’s behavioral health transformation initiative, working closely with the legislature, the courts, media, and stakeholders,” says Strange. “Sean’s ability to optimize performance in large, complex, human-centered operations will be a huge asset to DOC, and I am thrilled he will be joining our team.”

Murphy’s appointment is effective June 16. The appointment was previously announced by Strange internally to staff last week in a restructuring memo. In that announcement, Secretary Strange outlined the transition of oversight of Administrative Operations, Budget, Research Data and Analytics, Risk Management, Enterprise Results, Human Resources, Executive Policy and the newly created Office of Innovation & Strategy to Chief of Staff Julie Martin. Martin assumes those duties on June 16, 2021.

Sean Murphy joined DOC in 1996, advancing to roles ranging from corrections officer, sergeant, correctional unit supervisor, captain, correctional program manager, associate superintendent, and chief of security. He has worked in a range of institutions and offices within Corrections, including the Washington State Penitentiary, McNeil Island Corrections Center, the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center and department headquarters. Murphy joined Western State Hospital in 2016, serving as deputy chief executive officer and chief safety and security officer and leading safety and security programs for the 857-bed facility–one of largest in the country. In 2018, Murphy joined DSHS and oversaw the state’s three state psychiatric hospitals, the Special Commitment Center, three residential treatment facilities and two Secure Community Transition Facilities and a $1.2 billion biennial budget.