LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — James Dzurenda will return as the director of the Nevada Department of Corrections starting Monday under the leadership of Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo. Dzurenda previously headed the department for more than three years under Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Sandoval served as Nevada governor from 2011 until 2019.

“I am very honored and excited to be returning to the State of Nevada as Director for NDOC,” Dzurenda told the 8 News Now Investigators. “I am so thankful that Governor Joe Lombardo has put his trust and confidence in me to run the corrections agency in a time where it is crucial to bring back the importance of Public Safety and reducing community victimization by raising the standards in the correctional system.”

Dzurenda was previously the director from March 2016 to August 2019. He then worked for the city of North Las Vegas as a consultant for less than a year and then as the sheriff in Nassau County in Long Island, New York, for nearly three years. Dzurenda also previously worked in leadership roles at the Connecticut Department of Corrections.

Under Dzurenda’s leadership as NDOC director, the department removed the use of bird shots from prison facilities and replaced them with rubber bullets. Dzurenda also tried to address staffing issues and called for better pay for correctional officers.

Charles Daniels headed the department under the leadership of Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak. The 8 News Now Investigators uncovered numerous issues at the department, including a riot that the department tried to downplay, the escape of a convicted murderer, multiple inmate suicides within hours of each other and the murder of an inmate after his killer previously issued a warning.

Daniels stepped down at Sisolak’s request after the high-profile escape of the inmate. Daniels demanded more than $1 million in taxpayer funds in a letter before holding a press conference, according to Sisolak’s office. Daniels claimed that the governor’s office wanted him to change the timelines of events surrounding the escape.

In an interview with the 8 News Now Investigators after his resignation, Daniels claimed that he also asked the state for more resources for security and staffing.

Daniels provided no sit-down interviews with the 8 News Now Investigators while he served as the director. Dzurenda did multiple sit-down interviews.

In a 2016 interview with the 8 News Now Investigators, he said, “People need to see that our No. 1 priority outside the safety and security is try to do the best we could for offenders because they’re gonna be home.”

Return Strong, a group comprised of loved ones of prison inmates that advocates for prisoners’ rights, sent the 8 News Now Investigators a statement regarding the rehiring of Dzurenda.

“We are extremely happy with Governor Lombardo’s choice to bring Director Dzurenda back to Nevada and believe he is the perfect choice to steer Nevada Department of Corrections toward creating a new normal that fits focused on correction and rehabilitation,” the statement said. “We look forward to working with him.”

The Fraternal Order of Police Nevada C.O. Lodge 21, which represents NDOC correctional officers, also sent the 8 News Now Investigators a statement,.

“The Fraternal Order of Police looks forward to working with Director Dzurenda to advance the Nevada Department of Corrections and its officers to new heights,” it said “Welcome back, Director Dzurenda.”