A University of Arkansas at Little Rock criminal justice doctoral student has been appointed to a seven-year term on the Arkansas Board of Corrections.
Whitney Gass, who is also an assistant professor of criminal justice at Southern Arkansas University, learned of her appointment Feb. 13. SAU President Dr. Trey Berry nominated her for the position.
“On the first day of class of the semester, Dr. Berry asked if I had any interest in him recommending me for the Board of Corrections,” Gass said. “It was an academic seat, and they wanted some representation from the southern part of the state. I was honored.”
The Board of Corrections’ mission is to provide public safety by carrying out the mandate of the courts, provide a safe, humane environment for staff and inmates, strengthen the work ethic through teaching of good habits, and provide opportunities for staff and inmates to improve spiritually, mentally, and physically.
Several weeks after her name was submitted, officials contacted her and started vetting her for the position. She even met with Gov. Asa Hutchinson, her first time meeting a governor.
As a board member, Gass hopes to make positive changes in public policy for corrections in the state, including revising education and rehabilitation programs to better prepare inmates to transition into society after incarceration.
Gass has been pursuing her doctorate at UA Little Rock part time since 2013 and has an anticipated graduation date in 2018.