Rendell names first woman Dept. of Corrections chief

Gov. Rendell today named Shirley Moore Smeal as acting secretary of the Department of Corrections - the first woman to hold the post in Pennsylvania history.

Moore Smeal replaces Jeffrey Beard who retired recently after serving more than 38 years with the state prison system. Beard had served as secretary since 2001.

"Shirley has had a very extensive corrections career and has been mentored by Jeff Beard for the past 10 years," Governor Rendell said. "After serving as second-in-command at the department, it is only fitting that she be named acting secretary. I have met with her personally and am confident that she will lead the department in a manner which ensures secure, safe and humane conditions for inmates and employees.

Moore Smeal began her corrections career in 1987 as a clerk typist at the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon. Since then, she worked at SCIs Smithfield, Albion and Camp Hill in a variety of capacities.

She was appointed executive assistant to the secretary of corrections in 2001, which was followed by her appointment as superintendent of SCI Muncy in August 2003. Moore Smeal was appointed deputy secretary for the eastern region in 2006, and was named executive deputy secretary in April 2010.

As acting secretary, Moore Smeal is responsible for the operation of 27 state prisons, 14 community corrections centers and nearly 40 contract facilities. She leads a department that employs more than 16,000 staff and more than 51,200 inmates.

A native of Mount Union and graduate of Mount Union Area High School, Moore Smeal is a U.S. Air Force veteran. She earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and is a member of the American Correctional Association and the Pennsylvania Prison Wardens Association.

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