PRECYTHE

Gov.-elect Eric Greitens has named Anne Precythe, a corrections official from North Carolina, to oversee Missouri’s state prison system.

Precythe currently serves as the director of community corrections in North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety. She was the first woman to serve in that position, where she is responsible for supervising more than 100,000 offenders on probation or post-release supervision. A 1,600-bed facility is situated at Licking on West Highway 32.

Greitens’ announcement comes in the wake of reports that have brought to light a culture of harassment and retaliation among workers in Missouri’s Department of Corrections.

An investigation by Pitch.com, an alternative weekly newspaper in Kansas City, found that the state has paid millions in settlements to employees alleging they faced harassment at work for their sex, religion, race or disability.

It’s a revelation that has led to an audit into the state’s legal expense fund and investigations by the Legislature.

It also motivated Greitens, who will become the state’s chief executive on Jan. 9, to name a replacement for George Lombardi, the state’s embattled prison chief.

“Anne is tough on crime and a fierce advocate for the employees and officers who will keep our streets safe,” Greitens said in a statement last Wednesday. “She delivered results in North Carolina. In her state, people released from prison are less likely to commit crimes again. The system is wasting less money. Employees feel heard and appreciated.”

Greitens praised Precythe for making North Carolina’s corrections department leaner and more efficient, and for her creation of a program to support employees affected by violence at work or home.

Precythe was not immediately reached for comment. Calls to Precythe’s office were directed back to Greitens’ transition team.

Greitens’ statement also addressed the recently exposed problems within Missouri’s prisons.

“Missouri’s Department of Corrections is broken and that puts public safety at risk,” he said.

“Our corrections officers struggle in a culture of harassment and neglect, in a department with low morale and shockingly high turnover.”

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