Russell has lived in the north east all his life and held a number of positions within the probation service throughout his 31 year career. He was well known in the north east for leading Durham Tees Valley (DTV) probation service from 2010 until his retirement in 2014.
His career started in 1982 with the then Cleveland probation service, where he worked with the community service as well as in the family courts. He then went on to manage the court, accreditated programmes and supervision teams in various locations in the County. In 1999, he was appointed as assistant chief officer with the County Durham service and in 2006 he was appointed as chief officer for the service. Russell was influential in the decision to create the DTV Probation Trust and was appointed as chief executive officer in 2010. He was also chief executive of Cumbria probation trust from 2012 to 2014.
In his spare time Russell enjoys travelling, keeping fit, cycling and supporting Sunderland FC.