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Crime: Department of Public Safety Appoints New Directors of Prisons, Community Corrections

RALEIGH – Secretary Erik A. Hooks of the Department of Public Safety today named two senior administrators to new leadership roles as Director of Prisons and Director of Community Corrections. Kenneth Lassiter will serve as Director of Prisons, while Tracy Lee will become the Director of Community Corrections. Both appointments are effective May 1.

Lassiter will replace George Solomon, who is retiring after 33 years of service. Lassiter will oversee 55 state prisons that house more than 36,500 inmates. The state prison system has a budget of approximately $1.2 billion and more than 17,000 employees.

Lassiter is a 28-year corrections veteran who has served for the past three years as the state prison system’s deputy director for operations. He served as central region director and as warden at Central Prison, and moved through the ranks serving as superintendent, assistant superintendent of custody and operations and other managerial positions in all custody levels.  He began his career as a correctional officer in 1989 at Odom Correctional Institution in Northampton County.

“As a career professional, Kenneth Lassiter has managed our facilities and operations with great passion and expertise,” said Secretary Hooks. “Having a nationally-recognized leader like Kenneth who has a wide array of experience in safety and security roles in prisons is critical to helping protect the public, our employees and the inmates in our care.”

“As we continue to re-mission our prison facilities, improve mental health care and work to reduce the use of segregation, Kenneth is the right leader to move that work forward,” said W. David Guice, Chief Deputy Secretary for Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice . “I want to welcome Kenneth to this new role and thank George Solomon for his many years of excellent service as he enters retirement.”

Lassiter is a graduate of Northwest Halifax High School, a U.S. Army veteran and attended South Piedmont Community College. Within NCDPS, he is a general instructor, firearms instructor and graduate of the Correctional Leadership Development Program.   He currently serves on the American Correctional Association’s Board of Governors and its membership committee.

Tracy Lee is a 27-year Community Corrections veteran who began his career as a probation officer in Charlotte.  He most recently served as assistant division administrator overseeing probation and parole operations in the Third Judicial Division, which covers 21 counties in the Piedmont-Triad, Sandhills and northern mountain region of North Carolina. Since 1990, Lee has worked as intensive probation officer, chief probation officer, assistant judicial district manager and judicial district manager – all in Mecklenburg County.

Lee will lead a statewide probation and parole system of more than 2,600 employees who supervise nearly 98,000 individuals on probation, parole or post-release supervision. Community Corrections operates with an annual budget of approximately $200 million.

“Tracy Lee is a respected manager who has led an exemplary career in our probation system much of that in a very diverse and complex metropolitan area,” said Secretary Hooks. “I’m confident the skills he obtained working with specialty courts such as drug treatment, as well as working in special operations will serve the public well and continue leading our Community Corrections staff forward in a positive direction.”

“We want to keep building on the positive changes that have come to our probation system with the implementation of evidence-based practices and the Justice Reinvestment Act,” said Chief Deputy Secretary for Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice W. David Guice. “Tracy understands that and is committed to continuing to lead us in that direction.”

Lee holds a degree in criminal justice from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke and is a graduate of the NCDPS Correctional Leadership Development Program. He replaces Anne Precythe, who retired from state government in December after being selected by incoming Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to be the director of the Missouri Department of Corrections.

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