New leadership will soon take over at the Missouri Department of Corrections. Director Anne Precythe’s last day on the job will be December 5.

Precythe told Missourinet the time is right to go back to North Carolina to be with her family.

“I left my children. I left my mom. I left one grandson, who is now eight, and I have three more grandsons. I felt like what I was called to Missouri to do I have done and from this point forward, what am I really doing now? My goal was to help our workforce become a good strong, communicative team, and a team that respects each other, that helps each other, that feels valued and heard, that they feel included. we have worked really hard on those things and it now shows. It’s just time. We’ve have built a really strong bench, a lot of layers down, and a lot of layers out,” said Precythe.

She has led the largest department in state government since 2017. It includes 19 adult prisons, six community supervision centers, two transition centers, and more than 40 probation and parole offices. She oversees about 10,000 workers, 54,000 probationers and parolees, and 23,000 inmates.

“These jobs in the cabinet, they’re not forever jobs. Seven years is a good tenure for a corrections director,” Precythe said. “And I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished. There will always be so much more that can be done, but I think that it’s time to turn it over and let some new blood continue to take it further.”

What is she most proud of accomplishing during her time in the driver’s seat?

“Our retention rates are beginning to improve. We have created post-critical incident seminars that help our staff deal with trauma so that they can be better people in the workplace and at home. We’ve put so much more money in the pockets of our corrections staff,” said Precythe.

Under Precythe’s direction, the state agency has invested nearly $175 million in staff pay raises. It has also launched higher education partnerships and vocational training programs. Staff wellness workers have been brought on board to help employees become trauma-informed.

Shortly after Precythe took over the department, a state task force was formed to look for ways to reduce the state’s prison population. Missouri’s prisons were running out space to house inmates because the state ranked 8th highest among the 50 states in the rate at which it imprisons its people. The state had the greatest increase nationwide in its incarceration of women. There were discussions about building another prison to take on the roughly 33,000 inmates in the system at that time.

Since the task force’s work and work at the legislative level, the state’s prison population has reduced to about 23,000.

What’s next for Precythe?

“I really don’t have a plan,” said Precythe. “My plan right now is to get back to North Carolina, and get back around my family, and figure all that out.”

The governor appoints a replacement for the cabinet-level position. Gov. Mike Parson’s Office said a DOC interim director will be announced in the coming days prior to Precythe’s last day with the state.

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