The Arkansas Board of Corrections confirmed Solomon Graves as secretary of the Arkansas Department of Corrections, effective Saturday, Aug. 1.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Graves’ appointment July 23. Graves will succeed Wendy Kelley, who has overseen the department since 2015, according to a July 28 news release.

Graves served as chief of staff to Kelley for the past year. Before that, he was public information officer for the Division of Correction. From 2007 to 2016, he worked for the Arkansas Parole Board, including five years as board administrator.

“I thank the Board of Corrections for confirming Governor Hutchinson’s nomination,” Graves said. “Serving as Secretary of Corrections is an honor. We have a team of dedicated professionals that is committed to changing the lives of the men and women in our custody. I look forward to working with the staff to continue to move the department forward.”

Graves earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a master’s degree in public administration from Webster University.

Kelley announced her plans to retire on June 29.