Minnesota prison officials have tapped a longtime probation and juvenile justice advocate to lead the Corrections Department’s community services division, filling a position that had been vacated amid recent internal divisions.

Curtis Shanklin, state co-coordinator for the Minnesota Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, replaces Sarah Walker, who resigned in July amid an internal probe of allegations that she lobbied for her husband’s veterans’ organization on state time.

Shanklin has more than 20 years’ experience as a probation officer and re-entry services supervisor for Arrowhead Regional Corrections in Duluth. He also served as an adjunct faculty at Metropolitan State University and is a Justice Department-accredited Prison Rape Elimination Act auditor.

Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell appointed Shanklin after a series of interviews before panels that included law enforcement officials and ex-convicts who have done time in prison. In a statement Wednesday, Schnell said Shanklin “brings an energy and perspective to our team that will benefit both our staff in the field and our connection with our community partners.”

Shanklin, like his predecessor, has experience in criminal justice policy advocacy. In a statement Wednesday, he endorsed Gov. Tim Walz’s “vision for criminal justice reform in Minnesota.”

Stephen Montemayor