S.D. Women’s Prison warden has resigned

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Darren Berg is now interim warden at the South Dakota Women’s Prison, the governor’s policy director said Wednesday.

Berg replaces Wanda Markland, who stepped down Tuesday.

Nine female inmates walked away Monday evening from a minimum-security unit at the prison in Pierre.

Policy director Maggie Seidel wouldn’t say Wednesday whether the personnel change resulted from the walk-away.

“I can confirm the warden resigned her position and her last day was March 24,” Seidel told KELOLAND News.

Seidel confirmed the walk-away was the largest such event on record in South Dakota. She said six male inmates broke out of the State Penitentiary at Sioux Falls in 1987.

Two of the female inmates were still at large as of 9 p.m. CT Wednesday. They are inmates Philomene Boneshirt and Sylvia Red Leaf, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Seidel said the rumor of a riot Wednesday morning at the women’s prison was “absolutely false.”

Based on the rumor, KELOLAND News reporters Kelli Volk and Bob Mercer went to the prison but found nothing amiss. One female inmate was washing windows in the lobby area.

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