North Carolina Department of Correction

Governor's Press Office News Release
April 26, 1999

Vows to get the job done, uphold the standard and raise the bar higher

RALEIGH – Gov. Jim Hunt, legislators, Cabinet and Council of State members, prison superintendents and correctional officers from across the state were among the host of hundreds that filled the Old House Chamber today as Theodis Beck was sworn in as the new Secretary of Correction.

"As Secretary, Theodis is going to mean great things for the Department of Correction," said Hunt. "I trust that under his leadership, our communities will continue to become safer, dangerous criminals will be kept behind bars longer and our inmates will continue to work hard."

Beck was appointed by Hunt last week to succeed Mack Jarvis, who retired in September. Joe Hamilton served as acting secretary prior to Beck’s appointment. A native of Asheville, Beck is the first probation and parole officer to rise through the ranks to become secretary of the department.

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Text of
Secretary Beck's Speech

"The Department of Correction will continue to do it's part to help make North Carolina a safe place to live for all of its citizens," said Beck. "Probation and Parole Officers will continue to knock on doors and use technology to monitor the activities of offenders assigned to the department's supervision by the Courts and Parole Commission. And we will continue our work as partners in the community, in schools and with law enforcement.

"Our prisons will continue to provide fair and humane treatment to those assigned to our care, custody and control and we will be relentless in our efforts to make all able-bodied inmates work hard along our highways and all across this state where there is a need for our services," Beck added. "The Department of Correction also wants to play a role in the prevention of juvenile crime."

Beck, 50, began working for the Department of Correction in 1975 as a probation and parole officer, where he piloted the intensive supervision program and was one of the original eight officers – providing close supervision to offenders to ensure they obey the conditions of their probation and parole. He has also served as an assistant branch manager for the Division of Adult Probation and Parole (DAPP) in western North Carolina, and then as assistant director of the division’s programs and support services.

In 1995, Beck became the first African-American to head the Division of Adult Probation and Parole. He was also the first African-American to be named deputy secretary, overseeing the department’s Division of Prisons and the Division of Adult Probation and Parole. He served in this position since 1997.

Beck is a 1970 graduate of NC Central University, where he earned a B.A. in sociology. He is also a graduate of the NC Public Managers 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 as a first sergeant for eight years and a drill sergeant for 12 years in the U.S. Army Reserves, and retired in 1997.

In recent years, the Dept. of Correction has been a critical part of making North Carolina safer. The department has implemented the largest prison construction program ever, authorizing more than 15,000 beds since 1993 – a 50 percent increase. Sentences have been toughened, and as a result, more criminals are staying behind bars longer. The department has also put more prisoners to work than ever before – 21,000 – building their own prisons, growing their own food, cleaning up roadsides and completing community projects.

The Secretary of the Dept. of Correction oversees the state’s 32,000 prisoners and 113,000 people on probation and parole. The department has 19,000 employees, and is made up of the Division of Prisons, the Division of Community Corrections, Substance Abuse Program, Criminal Justice Partnership Program and Correction Enterprises. The department runs 84 prisons across the state, and has probation and parole offices in each of the state’s 100 counties.

"We will continue to get the job done," said Beck. "That is my commitment to you and to the citizens of North Carolina. We will view obstacles and challenges as opportunities to excel. We will examine ourselves with the same type intensity that a skilled prosecutor cross examines a hostile witness on the stand, looking for efficiencies and areas to make improvements."

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