Gov. Hutchinson recommends Solomon Graves to be new Arkansas Department of Corrections Secretary

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Solomon Graves, named Department of Corrections Secretary July 23, 2020. ADC photo.

ARKANSAS — Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) announced his recommendation of Solomon Graves as the state’s new Department of Corrections Secretary, at the daily COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, July 23.

“Solomon is stepping up during a difficult time in Arkansas, but with 14 years of experience in adult corrections, he is well prepared for the task,” Governor Hutchinson said. “In my time as governor, I have benefited from Solomon’s breadth of knowledge of the prison system and the wisdom of his counsel. He is a compassionate leader who will vigorously fulfill the state’s responsibility to assure public safety balanced with the need for rehabilitation and reentry support.”

Graves replaces Wendy Kelley who announced her retirement effective at the end of July. Kelley served as Arkansas’ Department of Corrections Director from 2015 until July 2019, when Gov. Hutchinson named her secretary.

“I am honored and humbled by the faith shown in me by Governor Hutchinson,” Mr. Graves said. “The staff and leadership of the Department are some of the most dedicated public servants I have ever met. My commitment to them is that we will remain focused on public safety and successful offender reentry, while we work to meet our varied challenges and improve the efficiency of our service to Arkansans.”

The Board of Corrections will consider the governor’s recommendation on Tuesday, July 28.


Graves graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2005 with an undergraduate degree in criminal justice. He earned a graduate degree in public administration from Webster University in 2010. In 2016, he was named spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Graves served as Chief of Staff for the past year. He was a board administrator for the Parole Board from 2007 to 2016.


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