HOUSTON, TEXAS – Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Christopher B. Epps was sworn in on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, as the 102nd president of the American Correctional Association (ACA).
Epps, who will lead the organization for two years, took the oath at the ACA Winter Conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said, “This is an honor for Commissioner Epps and brings distinction to our state.”
In his remarks, after being sworn in, Epps said he will seek to get more agencies ACA accredited and to increase the number of agencies receiving the ACA Golden Eagle award. Currently, Mississippi is one of 18 recipients of the Golden Eagle. The award is presented to those who have accredited every facet of their agency. MDOC is the 14th state correctional system in the nation to achieve this accomplishment. According to Epps, getting fully accredited in Mississippi saved the state millions of dollars and led to the dismissal of one of the lengthiest lawsuits in the country.
Epps also said he wants to continue focusing on health care issues, more rehabilitation and less administrative segregation. He also plans to push for more re-entry programs. He ended by saying, “It’s time to let the world know that corrections walks the toughest beat in town.”
Epps, in his 11th year as Mississippi’s corrections chief, is uniquely qualified to assume the helm of this premier corrections organization. He is the longest serving commissioner in MDOC history.
During his watch, the department has become number one in corrections reform, drawing visitors both from within and outside of the United States to discuss administrative segregation, commonly known as solitary confinement, and Managed Access in dealing with illicit cell phones.
Gov. Bryant said. “I appreciate the hard work and dedication of the commissioner and all of the Department of Corrections staff.”
Epps is an ACA auditor. He was elected in 2004 to the ACA Commission on Accreditation, where he served for a 4-year term. In 2006 he was appointed to the ACA Commission on Accreditation Executive Board. In 2008 he was elected by the members as ACA Treasurer. In 2010 he was elected president elect of ACA. Both positions allowed him to serve on the ACA Executive Board. In addition to his leadership with ACA, he is vice president of the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) and was ASCA treasurer.
The ACA, founded in 1870 as the National Prison Association, is the oldest and largest international correctional association in the world, serving all disciplines within the corrections profession. The organization is composed of more than 20,000 members from 60 countries. Approximately 450 Mississippians are members.
Epps said, “My experience and success in corrections will help me to not only be an effective leader for ACA but also will help my state stay on the forefront of current matters in criminal justice.”
Media note: Commissioner Christopher Epps’ resume can be found at the following link: http://www.mdoc.state.ms.us/christopher_b.htm