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Secretary Beck Sworn In For Another Term

RALEIGH, Jan. 19 - Theodis Beck was sworn in Jan. 19 as Correction Secretary during a ceremony at the State Capitol. Governor Michael F. Easley reappointed Beck Jan. 10. Governor Jim Hunt first appointed Beck to the position in April 1999.

"Secretary Beck has provided valuable leadership at the Department of Correction," said Easley. "He has shown a strong commitment to making our State safer by keeping dangerous prisoners behind bars and off of our streets. Having worked his way up through the ranks at Correction also gives him unique experience that is invaluable in running this agency."

A native of Asheville, Beck started his career in corrections as a probation/parole officer in 1975 in his hometown. He worked his way up through the ranks eventually serving as director of what was the Division of Adult Probation and Parole and as deputy secretary.

Secretary Beck takes the oath of office
Secretary Beck takes the oath of office while his wife Jean holds the family Bible.

Beck is a 1970 graduate of N.C. Central University. He is also a graduate of the N.C. 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.

"I am honored to serve Governor Easley and the citizens of the state of North Carolina," said Beck. "I think my being re-appointed as Secretary speaks well for the Department and to the employees who have contributed to its many successes."

Beck has seen first-hand the many changes the Department has gone through. "The Department has been introduced to technology, new and innovative programs and some reorganization," said Beck. "But what Im seeing now is an ultimate return to the basics. Were tough on crime, but were also giving offenders hands on help to turn their lives around."

At the top of Becks priority list is reducing recidivism. To do that Beck says the Department must provide more transitional services to offenders, preparing them for life outside of prison. "We need to help them find employment and housing," said Beck. He added that Easley supports better substance abuse treatment and more support of drug courts.

Beck says that even though he has been in the position of Secretary for nearly two years, he feels he still has a lot of work to do. Some of Becks ideas include turning more attention to the prevention arena and lending support to other agencies. He added, "We need to encourage an increased role in the faith community. Currently, we have a strong presence of the faith community in our prisons, but we need to do more when offenders are released."

Beck has a lot of support throughout the Department and hes quick to say it is because of the many dedicated employees, at all levels, that we have a lot to brag about. "I am mindful of those who work in the trenches, doing the grunt work and who make their managers look good," said Beck. "Although we dont have the money to pay everyone what they so richly deserve, I want to ensure that the Department maintains its work friendly environment, supervisors need to say thank you more often and build morale."

One hurdle Beck says hes hoping we soon can overcome is the number of job vacancies. He says the administration is examining some of its policies that could be hindering quality people from joining the Department. Most importantly, Beck says hes looking forward to starting a new term with so many fine employees. Beck said, "I believe the people who work in corrections are the unsung heroes of the criminal justice system."

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