North Carolina Department of Correction news release

Friends and coworkers gather at retirement luncheon for Mack Jarvis

SEPTEMBER 18, 1998

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK - State Correction Secretary Mack Jarvis was congratulated by Gov. Jim Hunt and a chorus of more than 500 well wishers who gathered for his third attempt to retire from the North Carolina Department of Correction.

"Making it to the top takes a lot of hard work. It takes the right attitude, it takes co-workers who believe in you," said Gov. Hunt. "And surely nobody in the history of the Department of Corrections is ever had more friends and more respect in this department and earned it than Mack. That kind of leadership is hard to come by and its made him one of the top leaders in state government."

In praising him for his service, Gov. Hunt presented Jarvis with the state’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

"It is with great reluctance that we send this mountain man back to the mountains. Rising from a correctional officer to the secretary of the department takes pure dedication and a love of the profession. Mack, you have touched the lives of so many, many people. Those people who have been corrected, those people who have been protected and those who people who have worked with you. I want to thank you personally for your exemplary service to NC."

Assistant Correction Secretary Lynn Phillips pointed out that Jarvis shares initials with another famous North Carolinian who is considering retirement. "Just as the Chicago Bulls won’t be the same without Michael Jordan," said Phillips. "The Department of Correction won’t be the same without Mack Jarvis."

Jarvis has served as the department’s secretary for the last two years, deputy secretary from 1993 to 1997 and a leader in the agency for the last five decades.

Jarvis began his career in the N.C. Department of Correction in 1959 at Caldwell Correctional Center in Hudson. During his 35-year career, Jarvis held numerous jobs in the department, including superintendent of Avery, Watauga, Stokes, Western and Piedmont correctional centers. He was a program director for the Western Area Office before becoming Area Administrator in 1977.

During the past seven years, Jarvis has helped to transform an agency that was in need of help and failing to meet public expectations. Jarvis helped to rebuild and reorganize the agency into a national model. During this time, the prison population rose from 20,000 at the end of 1992 to 32,000 today. Paroles deceased from a high of 26,784 in 1993 to 9,328 in 1997. An important measure of success was that U.S. District Judge Earl Britt issued a court order February 20, ending 12 years of federal court jurisdiction over state prisons.

During his tenure, Jarvis has broken ground and cut ribbons helping to open a number of new state of the art prisons including the close security Pasquotank Correctional Institution and Polk Youth Institution; medium security Craven Correctional Institution, Hyde Correctional Center and Warren Correctional Institution; and minimum security Dan River Prison Work Farm and North Piedmont Correctional Center for Women.

Under Jarvis’s leadership the department has increased the number of prisoners working to 21,000 a day. Many take part in the new community work program that puts minimum security prisoners to work for local government and public agencies. The department has doubled the number of drug and alcohol recovery treatment spaces and created new alcohol and chemical dependency programs. He also oversaw the creation of a new ethics for inmates program.

Jarvis has also worked to strengthen the state’s probation programs building new ties between probation officers, law enforcement and community leaders. There are more probation officers who are better prepared to closely control offenders while closely working with police and community programs to keep offenders in compliance.

Jarvis has also worked tirelessly as an advocate of Gov. Hunt’s agenda. He has traveled the state visiting child care facilities and speaking to civic clubs. He helped people to understand the importance and benefits of initiatives including Smart Start child development programs, safer classrooms and higher pay and increased accountability for teachers.

The luncheon gathering that honored Jarvis today marks his third attempt to retire. He had retired in 1989, but returned at Gov. Hunt’s request to serve as Deputy Secretary of Correction. He had filed for retirement at the end of 1996, but returned when Gov. Hunt asked him to serve as Correction Secretary.

Jarvis was joined at the luncheon by co-workers, friends and family. His wife, son, daughter, sister, their spouses and children took part.


Secretary Mack Jarvis receives applause during his
retirement luncheon.

Gov. Hunt

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Sec. Jarvis

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Secretary Jarvis talks with his grandchildren, family and
friends after the luncheon.

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