Jerry Adger will lead the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services, Gov. Nikki Haley announced Friday, making the last appointment to her Cabinet as she starts her second term.
Adger, who will be the third African-American in Haley’s Cabinet, has more than 30 years of experience working for state law enforcement agencies. He is inspector general for the Department of Corrections and an adjunct criminal justice professor at the University of South Carolina.
Adger, whose nomination requires confirmation by the state Senate, would succeed Kela Thomas, who resigned from the $99,421-a-year job last month.
Adger, 60, also has experience at the state Department of Juvenile Justice, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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“Wherever he has gone ... he has created a culture change,” Haley said. “He goes in and finds out why things happen in order to figure out how we’re going to correct the problem.”
Haley said all of her agencies, including the parole department, will focus on workforce training.
“What else can we be doing for these offenders to make sure that they’re getting retrained?” Haley said. “To make sure they’re getting job opportunities, to make sure they’re not just going and sitting at home but actually going and getting a job, and how are we helping them do that.”
Adger said he wants to apply his experience working for state law enforcement agencies and sit down with probation officers.
“I want to hear from them what their frustrations are,” he said. “As their director, I will make sure that they’re being supported and that they’re getting the resources that they need to do their job.”
Adger also said he wants to partner with SLED chief Mark Keel and Corrections director Brian Stirling to create a safer environment in South Carolina.
He said he will travel the state’s counties to talk with sheriffs, police chiefs and federal agencies to discuss teamwork.
Stirling said Corrections would miss Adger, adding, “I’m looking forward to collaborating further with him on public-safety outreach and finding jobs for these offenders that leave Corrections and making the state a safer place.”