The executive council unanimously voted this week to promote Deputy Corrections Commissioner Helen Hanks as the new head of the department.
Republican Joe Kenney acknowledged that Hanks is taking the reins at a time when the agency faces a number of serious challenges. At her confirmation hearing, Hanks faced questions on issues ranging from a strained workforce within the department to persistent delays in the opening of a new women's prison in Concord.
“Being the commissioner of corrections is probably one of the toughest jobs in state government,” Kenney said. “There might’ve been some flaws that were brought up, they’re only constructive criticism that I think the state and corrections department can work upon.”
Hanks has been with the state corrections department for 14 years. Before becoming deputy commissioner, she previously served as a social worker, on its medical and forensic team.