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PRESS RELEASE: DOC Secretary Announces the Retirement of Prisons Leader Mike Obenland & Appointment of Donald Holbrook to Top Prisons Job

Released August 1, 2022

Tobby Hatley Communications Office
Headshot photos of Mike Obenland (left) and Don Holbrook (right)

Left to Right: Mike Obenland and Don Holbrook. (Photos courtesy of DOC Communications).

TUMWATER – The Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Cheryl Strange announced today the retirement of Mike Obenland as the Assistant Secretary of the Men’s Prisons Division, effective September 1, 2022.

Mike has been with DOC for 33 years and in this time has earned the respect of his team, his peers and those in DOC’s care and custody. Mike started his career in 1989 as a correctional officer at Clallam Bay Corrections Center (CBCC). He served in a variety of leadership roles across the department including superintendent of Clallam Bay Corrections Center and superintendent of Monroe Correctional Complex.

“This is a bitter-sweet decision,” said Obenland. “There is still so much to do, but it’s time to focus on my family and do those things that folks get to do when they retire.”

“Mike brought a wealth of knowledge to his role including a deep understanding of the importance of safe and humane prisons operations,” says Strange. “I am so very grateful to Mike for stepping into this leadership position and setting the example for the Men’s Prison Division. I wish him a wonderful retirement, which he has earned from his years of faithful service.”

With this change, Strange has announced the appointment of Donald (Don) Holbrook to the position of Assistant Secretary of the Men’s Prisons Division effective September 1, 2022.

“I am very pleased to appoint Don to this position, it is well-earned” says Strange. “Don has already long established his dedication and commitment to the Men’s Prison Division and his depth of experience will lead the division into its future.”