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On May 13, Gov. Andy Beshear announced in a statement the appointment of Cookie Crews as commissioner of the Department of Corrections.

“Cookie Crews knows our corrections system and is well suited to lead this department during a trying time for the agency, our employees and the inmates,” said Gov. Beshear. “She is a dedicated, experienced leader who has worked at every level of the agency.”

Crews is a 36-year veteran of corrections having served at the helm of four prisons and the agency’s Health Services Division for the past eight years.

“I’m incredibly honored to accept this role,” said Crews. “To lead the agency I’ve devoted my entire adult life to is a dream come true. I’m excited to guide the Department of Corrections and the amazing group of corrections professionals who make up Kentucky DOC.”

A native of Hardy in Pike County, the statement said, Crews began her corrections career in January 1984 as a correctional officer at the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women (KCIW). She has served as warden at KCIW, the Kentucky State Reformatory, Frankfort Career Development Center, and Luther Luckett Correctional Complex. In her role as health services administrator, she provided administrative oversight for the entire medical mission for the department.

“It is so important to have permanent leadership in place while we are dealing with a worldwide pandemic that strongly impacts how we manage our prison population,” said Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Mary Noble. “Ms. Crews’ previous service as a warden and leadership of our medical services division create the perfect mix of experiences to guide us through this.”

Randy White, a 24-year veteran of the Kentucky DOC who has served as acting commissioner since February, will resume his role as deputy commissioner overseeing primarily the state’s prisons.

White welcomed the announcement and is looking forward to the support and stability Commissioner Crews will bring to the department.

“I have had the honor of working under Ms. Crews in previous years and have great respect for her leadership ability and knowledge of correctional operations,” said White. “She brings many years of experience, professionalism and integrity to the department’s highest office. I know she will be a commissioner who cares for all people that we serve.”

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