Saturday, December 18, 2021

Parole Board Chairman Retires

 The Mississippi Department of Corrections issued the following statement. 

Mississippi State Parole Board Chairman Steven Pickett today announces his retirement from public service, effective December 31, 2021.

Pickett is ending 30 years of government work, including nine years on the five-member Parole Board. He began serving on the board Nov. 10, 2012, after then-Gov. Phil Bryant appointed him and became chairman a year later. Having been reappointed by Gov. Tate Reeves in 2020, he is the longest serving chairman. Pickett thanked Gov. Reeves in a retirement letter dated December 14.

"My thirty years of public service - in law enforcement, with the courts, and on the parole board - have provided me the opportunity to make a difference in many people's lives," he said in the letter. "Helping people was my primary goal when I began my career in law enforcement, as it is for all the men and women who protect and serve us. My position on the parole board provided me a different kind of opportunity to help others, by giving a second chance to those who earned it and denying it to those who remain a threat to public safety."

Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain said he has appreciated Pickett's friendship and cooperation. Though the Parole Board is an independent body, its budget is within the MDOC's.

Under Pickett's leadership, the board has supported Commissioner Cain's request to not release gang members back into communities. "He has helped us to keep our communities safer," Commissioner Cain said.

Pickett came to the board after serving as a longtime deputy to then-Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin, who was on the board when Pickett joined. Pickett's career also has included serving as a Youth Court Resource Officer, deputy chancery clerk, and Justice Court judge in Hinds County.

"I will leave knowing that I gave it my best and after more than sixty thousand parole and revocation decisions, it's time to go," he said in his resignation letter to Gov. Reeves. "The prison population is the lowest it's been in twenty-two years at just under seventeen thousand. The decrease in population is due, in large part, to the difficult and important decisions made by the board."

Though he will be leaving government service, Pickett said, he will continue helping others by working with the Mississippi Center for Police & Sheriffs' Warrior Cottages program in Vicksburg, which provides housing to those in need, including veterans.

A retirement reception is planned for Pickett at the board's office on North Street, Suite 100A,  in Jackson from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. December 29.


Anonymous said...

I would say good riddance, but Tater gets to appoint the next one and he Can and will do worst.

Anonymous said...

He would have made a great sheriff.

Anonymous said...

He’s a good guy.

Anonymous said...

NEVER worked in law enforcement. Worked in Administration.
Big Difference. Been catered too and taken care of politically his entire career.

Anonymous said...

Started as McMillans secretary and errrrr/ appointed titles after that..
Never worked a day on the street.
He's always had political leverage and gimme positions..

Anonymous said...

Nobody really knows what a gravy train that appointment really is.

Burke said...

If McMillin hired him, you can safely bet that he is high quality.

Anonymous said...

A state employee who retires just prior to January instead of on June 30 can't be too bright. Or maybe he was not still in the PERS system. Not sure.

Will Tater appoint 'the guy who killed the pumps' or will Tater appoint somebody he thinks will satisfy the minority community? My money is on the latter.

Anonymous said...

The parole board has wayyy too much power. These unelected people get to decide which convicted criminals get to go back into our communities.

Anonymous said...

He is definitely one of the best ones they have had. He listens and tries to help.

Anonymous said...

Chairman Pickett will be greatly missed. Working on the parole board is a thankless job. It’s impossible to make a decision that isn’t criticized by someone. Despite the constant criticism, Chairman Pickett wasn’t afraid to do the right thing-whether it was granting or denying parole. And he was always available to speak to inmates, their families, victims, and law enforcement. He answered his phone at all hours of the day and night and was always extraordinarily patient and polite. His retirement is our loss.

Anonymous said...

All of the people on here talking about shit they don’t know, once again. I bet none of you have ever dealt with Chairman Pickett or the Parole Board. If you had, you would know that losing him is a great loss.

Anonymous said...

He inherited that position, only after McMillan refused to come to work, 3 times a month and Gov.Reeves was going to fire him, and said, it would be in his best interest to retire, rather than be fired publicly, if he was planning on running for another office again.
Entitlements ruined everything. Full-time pay and part-time hours initially and Mac didn't even wanna do that.
So pickett took over Full-time.

Anonymous said...

2:03 - Describe your idea of a system that would work better. Go.

Second 2:03 - If he 'listens and tries to help', he probably makes emotion-based decisions. But all decisions made by people in these positions are emotion-base, which, in all cases is better than 'race based'...the alternative.

Anonymous said...

5:15, Mac was dead long before Tate was Governor. Loooong before. But nice rant.

Anonymous said...

His retirement is a great loss — not just to the Parole Board but to Mississippi as a whole. Best wishes in your future endeavors Chairmen.

Anonymous said...

5:37 - isn't there a third, and better, base?

Maybe 'law based'? Seems to me that's what the position should be, rather than emotion or race.

Wonder, in fact, how you happened to choose "race" as the alternative. Never mind, was just wondering, that's all.

Anonymous said...

@1:58 PM no idea why 'Kill the Pumps' Bennie Thompson would want the job but it would give him an opportunity to meet sooooo many of the people from his district that he never lifted a f'ing finger to tell help while accumulating wealth in Congress.

Anonymous said...

I worked with Picket over the hears. He was a good guy and always professional. He managed a system that by nature is chaotic. There is no perfect criminal justice system due to the fact you are working with criminals. Steve made the system efficient and effective.

Lastly, this is a blog. The easy part is getting on here and typing criticism.
The hard part is going to work in public service to make a real difference, while making less pay than you would working in a business setting. Let keep that in mind while we sit and do nothing but make anonymous comments.

Wolf53 said...

I worked for Pickett and the Parole Board and for three priorChairs, including Malcolm. Mac got sick and retired/resigned from the Board because of his health. To say otherwise is ignorance. Mac was a good and decent man. Pickett always did what he thought was right. He based his decisions on the information presented to him and the Board by MDOC, his experience, witness testimony for and against release, and the interview of the parolee. It is a tough job and a heavy responsibility. Are all of any Board's decisions perfect decisions in retrospect? Of course not, but Pickett stuck by his decisions and did not pass off ones that did not turn out perfect. He was also a good person to work for. He did not mistreat his staff which says a lot about any person in authority. Well done Steve; well done.

Cliff Johnson said...

Steve Pickett is a straight shooter who granted parole for some of my clients and denied it for others. He always shot straight with me and my clients, and he took his role very seriously. I can only hope the next Chair is cut from the same cloth. Steve will now pursue his passion of providing transitional housing for those released from prison and thereby reducing recidivism and making our communities safer. I wish him all the best with that noble effort.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Steve. Job well done.

Anonymous said...

@12:51, a great sheriff 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂. He was McMillin’s, errand boy, chauffeur and all around go boy. He was NEVER a true certified law enforcement officer. Sen. David Blount slyly passed a bill that somehow made Pickett and Pete Luke certified law enforcement officers. The bill was worded in a way that would only apply to them. Neither Pickett or Pete Luke have the respect of working officers. However, both are masters of playing in the political arena and sucking up to the powerful in order to get what THEY want.
But Pickett as Sheriff, the idea is laughable!

Anonymous said...

David Blount is a charlatan.

Anonymous said...

"The prison population is the lowest it's been in twenty-two years at just under seventeen thousand. The decrease in population is due, in large part, to the difficult and important decisions made by the board."

I'm not sure that's something to brag about.

Further, regarding 1:58's comment that "A state employee who retires just prior to January instead of on June 30 can't be too bright," I don't think the poster really knows how public employment and the PERS system work.

Anonymous said...

Actually, 3:48, I do, having retired with 25 and just got my 30th 13th check. Feel free to discuss. Or you can show up at Waffle house and discuss state government expense cuts.

Anonymous said...

I've known Steve Pickett and worked with him in various capacities over the past 30 years. He is a great, solid guy whose word is his bond. His capacity for slicing through BS is probably unmatched. Mississippi has been lucky to have him in positions where he could help people. I'm not a bit surprised to see he plans on spending his retirement time doing just that. Thank you, Steve, for the work you've done, even if it wasn't flashy or headline grabbing. You've done a great job for all of us. Enjoy your next adventure!

Anonymous said...

I have represented many clients in front of the Parole Board. Steve Pickett isn’t the nicest but he was always very fair. I hate to see him leave. I wish him well whatever he does. Awesome guy. If you are talking shit about him you never met him.

Anonymous said...

There are things but at the end of the day he was always pleasant to me. So congrats on making it to the next chapter. Please don't run for office.

Anonymous said...

@1:58 -

After decades of state employment/retirement I know literally hundreds of other PERS covered employees/retirees. Very few of them know how it works or can perform the economic calculations to determine the absolute best scenario. Being a state retiree and collecting a check doesn't mean you understand. Clearly from your comment you don't either. January vs. June is a minor issue unless you blindly disregard all the other factors. One using that as a standard to determine how "bright" someone else is reveals one's own profound ignorance or lack of intelligence. In many instances, January may be by far the more advantageous date.

Further, you didn't specify whether you were talking about the June before the January, or the one after. And you didn't bring up other dates, as there are a few which may be more advantageous than June 30 for the average employee.

I'm not saying Mr. Pickett is or isn't bright. I'm saying you can't determine anything about him simply from his chosen retirement date. You would have to review his calculations of all the factors involved as they apply to him. Retirement date PERS implications are simply one of those factors.

Anonymous said...

Steve Pickett is leaving as Chair. For those who know him, call and congratulate or don't. For those who don't know him why are you even bothering to comment? Need a life maybe?

Anonymous said...

Generally 1:23, because most of the commenters here are assholes, angry at their station in life.

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