JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Missouri Department of Corrections Director Anne Precythe's last day will be Dec. 5. An interim director will be announced after her retirement.
Precythe served as director of the Department of Corrections since January 2017 and announced her plans to step down Wednesday. She said she'll return home to North Carolina and enjoy retirement with her friends and family.
“When I came to Missouri, my goal was to help elevate the Department of Corrections, and I believe my team has accomplished most of what we set out to do,” Precythe said. “It has been a great honor to serve as director of this department. I am proud of my team and confident that I’m leaving the department in good hands.”
Precythe told ABC 17 News that one of the most important parts of being the director is ensuring you communicate well with others, and are dedicated to the position. This is something she hops the person who fills her shoes places a great emphasis on.
"Communicate directly with the workforce. They need to be out, they need to be seen, Precythe said. "They need to communicate with the offender population. Stay in touch with them. What's working? What's not working? That is a really important part of what being a director is."
Marlene Terry is a democratic representative for the 66th district in St. Louis who also serves as minority chair for the house corrections committee. Terry said she believes dedication and communication are two of the most important qualities needed in the future director.
Terry also noted that the director needs to be able to deal with certain situations in prisons.
"I just think that it needs to be someone that can handle uncertainties and be able to process information and just you know, try to make a difference within the facility or individuals," Terry said.
Terry also said in her role she receives multiple letters from inmates daily. Some of who, tell her they're innocent but are still deprived of certain resources. This leads Terry to believe prison reform is something the next director also needs to emphasize.
"You know we can learn from one another," Terry said. "I do believe that equal and justice for all should be for even those that are you know, confined."
During her years in the position, Precythe noted accomplishing many things that bring her a sense of comfort walking away. The most notable, according to Precythe are creating resources for offenders who are women, increasing pay for corrections employees and creating behavioral health services in rural parts of the state.
One of the biggest accomplishments Precythe says won't be available in the state until 2030.
"We're building re-entry centers which are the hub in each prison facility that will focus on helping people returning to the community get all the stable resources they need prior to leaving prison," Precythe said.
Before starting her current role, Precythe was with the North Carolina Division of Community Corrections for 30 years.
In her tenure with the Missouri DOC, Precythe expanded her service to the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board, the Correctional Leaders Association Executive Committee, the Council of State Governments Justice Center Advisory Board, and the inaugural class of the Council on Criminal Justice.
Precythe oversaw the implementation of several dozen new programs in the Missouri DOC while serviing as director. During her tenure, she oversaw Justice Reinvestment programs, reentry programs, new higher-education partnerships and more.
Gov. Mike Parson praised Precythe's leadership during her time as director.
"“As we set out to transform and improve the culture across state government, Anne was there every step of the way," Parson said. "Under Anne’s leadership, not only have DOC staff turnover rates decreased but they’ve reversed, and we’ve witnessed a renewed sense of pride in public service among team members."