Kenneth Lassiter was named to the position by Secretary Erik A. Hooks.
In taking the position, effective May 1, Lassiter replaces George Solomon who is retiring after 33 years.
Lassiter will oversee 55 state prisons which house more than 36,500 inmates. The state prison system has a budget of approximately $1.2 billion and more than 17,000 employees.
Lassiter is a 28-year corrections veteran who has served for the past three years as the state prison system’s deputy director for operations.
He served as central region director and as warden at Central Prison, and moved through the ranks serving as superintendent, assistant superintendent of custody and operations and other managerial positions in all custody levels.
He began his career as a correctional officer in 1989 at Odom Correctional Institution outside Jackson.
“As a career professional, Kenneth Lassiter has managed our facilities and operations with great passion and expertise,” said Hooks in a statement. “Having a nationally-recognized leader like Kenneth who has a wide array of experience in safety and security roles in prisons is critical to helping protect the public, our employees and the inmates in our care.”
W. David Guice, chief deputy secretary for Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice said in the statement, “As we continue to re-mission our prison facilities, improve mental health care and work to reduce the use of segregation, Kenneth is the right leader to move that work forward. I want to welcome Kenneth to this new role and thank George Solomon for his many years of excellent service as he enters retirement.”
Lassiter is a graduate of Northwest Halifax High School, a U.S. Army veteran and attended South Piedmont Community College.
Within NCDPS, he is a general instructor, firearms instructor and graduate of the Correctional Leadership Development Program.
He currently serves on the American Correctional Association’s Board of Governors and its membership committee.
Hooks also today tapped Tracey Lee as director of community corrections.
Lee is a 27-year Community Corrections veteran who began his career as a probation officer in Charlotte.