Pelicia Hall is officially taking the reins of the Mississippi Department of Corrections — becoming the first woman to hold the position.

Gov. Phil Bryant announced Hall’s appointment Monday afternoon as Commissioner of the Department of Corrections. Hall had served as interim commissioner since January.

“Pelicia’s experience within the Mississippi Department of Corrections makes clear that she is the perfect choice to lead the agency. I know she will continue to serve the people of our state well, and I am delighted she has accepted this appointment,” Bryant wrote on Facebook.

Hall is a graduate of Alcorn State University and has a law degree from Mississippi College. Previously, she was the chief of staff to her MDOC predecessor, Marshall Fisher, whom Bryant appointed to lead the Department of Public Safety in January.

Hall was also at one time lead counsel for the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics when Fisher also led that agency.

In a statement, Hall said that she would focus on eliminating extortion rings and contraband in state correctional facilities. She said that prisoners, visitors, vendors and staff caught violating these laws will be prosecuted.

“I am committed to implementing positive reforms that will forever change the perception of our state’s corrections system. Criminal justice reform is at the forefront of our nation, and it is imperative that we focus on rehabilitation of those incarcerated in our system to turn those persons into productive citizens while continuing our mission to provide public safety,” Hall said in a statement.

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Ryan L. Nave, a native of University City, Mo., served as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief from May 2018 until April 2020. Ryan began his career with Mississippi Today February 2016 as an original member of the editorial team. He became news editor August 2016. Ryan has a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked for Illinois Times and served as news editor for the Jackson Free Press.