Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct that Solomon Graves is the Cabinet Secretary for the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas Governor-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Tuesday her intent to name a Department of Corrections head.
Huckabee Sanders said she intends to nominate Joe Profiri as the Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Profiri is currently the Deputy Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Huckabee Sanders said she intended to work with the state Department of Corrections to confirm Profiri for the position.
Profiri has 33 years of service in corrections, beginning in 1988 as an Arizona corrections officer. If appointed for the position, his appointment will be the end of the term for the current Arkansas Department of Corrections head Solomon Graves, who was appointed in July 2020.
Huckabee Sanders’s announcement indicated an increased emphasis on prison terms to reduce crime. During her campaign, she touted Truth in Sentencing guidelines focused on keeping repeat offenders in prison.
“As our state prepares to confront rising crime head-on and devote the necessary resources to increase prison capacity to allow for the retention of violent, repeat offenders, I made it a priority to select an individual with decades of experience in correctional oversight and who shares my commitment to public safety,” Huckabee Sanders said.
Profiri’s indicated he shared Huckabee Sanders’s vision.
“The work of corrections to keep communities safe by professionally retaining violent, repeat offenders and adequately preparing offender populations for reintegration is challenging but a passion of mine,” Profiri said.
Prison capacity in the state has been an issue. The Arkansas Department of Corrections voted in September to release 400 parolees early due to overcrowding as prisons were at 105% capacity.