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Jack Kavanagh, Howard County’s corrections director, to retire after 12 years leading the department

Jack Kavanagh, director of the Howard County Department of Corrections, announced his retirement Tuesday after 18 years working in Howard County.

Kavanagh has worked in the Howard corrections department since 2003 and has served as director since 2008. Before that, he spent 24 years with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services’ Division of Correction.

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“The staff at the department are some of the finest employees I have ever encountered, and I will miss them,” Kavanagh said in a statement. “The support of the county executives that I have served, as well as the support of Chief Administrative Officer Lonnie Robbins is greatly appreciated. They have allowed the agency to continue developing the important programs that positively impact the lives of those incarcerated here.”

In the past year, Kavanagh and the department saw significant public attention over the county’s agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the treatment of ICE detainees held at the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup.

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During his tenure, Kavanagh led programs at the detention center like Seeds of Change, run by Howard EcoWorks, which aims to educate and provide vocational training to inmates so they can grow and maintain a native plant nursery.

“Jack is an outstanding public servant, and his expertise and thoughtful approach will be missed in Howard County,” County Executive Calvin Ball said in a statement. “Jack was dedicated to making sure that each inmate would not return to our jail after serving their time and was committed to providing educational opportunities to assist in their reentry and reduce recidivism.”

Kavanagh is set to leave his position Feb. 28, according to county spokesperson Scott Peterson. An interim director is set to be named before Kavanagh’s last day.

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