James B. Hunt, Jr., Governor
Theodis Beck, Secretary
Patty McQuillan, Director of Public Information (919) 733-4926

April 19, 1999

Raleigh - Gov. Jim Hunt named Theodis Beck secretary of the N.C. Department of Correction April 19.

Beck is the first probation and parole officer to rise through the ranks to become secretary of the department. Prior to this appointment, Beck was the deputy secretary of the department since 1997.

"Theodis Beck has devoted his career to the Dept. of Correction and making our state safer," Hunt said. "His commitment to public service, along with his experience and knowledge of the department, will make him a strong secretary. I’m looking to his leadership to keep us on the right track as we work to protect our families and to keep dangerous criminals behind bars."

A native of Asheville, Beck started working for the department in 1975 as a probation and parole officer. He piloted the intensive supervision program and was one of the original eight officers. On Jan. 1, 1995, Beck was named director of the Division of Adult Probation and Parole, the first African-American to head the division. He was also the first African-American to be named deputy secretary.

Beck is a 1970 graduate of N.C. Central University. He also completed the N.C. Public Manager’s Program, which provides state-sponsored classes on effective management practices. From 1970-72, he served in the U.S. Army where he rose to the level of sergeant. He also served for eight years as a first sergeant and a drill sergeant for 12 years in the U.S. Army Reserves. He retired from the Reserves in 1997.

"My hope is that we can continue in the spirit of cooperation and teamwork," Beck said. "We are up against some of our most trying times. My number one priority is looking out for the 800 people impacted by the potential prison closings. We need to look out for our own. We are not just talking about employees but families."

The secretary of the department oversees the state’s 32,000 prisoners and 113,000 people on probation and parole. Beck replaces Mack Jarvis who retired as secretary of the department in September. Chief Deputy Secretary Joe Hamilton served as acting secretary prior to Beck's appointment.

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