Ora Starks began her duties as a warden on Monday and she said she is excited to begin her new journey.
"My focus has always been on my career and getting where I want to be", said Starks, who the daughter of James and Ola Starks of Indianola.
"I have not taken the time to slow down because I am so goal oriented and I have so many goals that I desire to achieve", said Starks.
Starks attended Mississippi Valley State University, where she received a bachelor of science in 1994 and master of arts in criminal justice in 1999.
She said she is currently a doctor of philosophy candidate at Walden University.
While receiving her undergraduate degree, she pledged Delta Sigma Theta.
Starks is not all work and no play, she said she enjoys various hobbies, such as traveling, reading, shopping and public service.
"I like to give back," said Starks.
Starks, 42, is no stranger to the realm of justice.
She has worked as a correctional officer, served as a correctional officer sergeant, case manager, Alcohol and Drug Treatment Coordinator and compliance officer for Mississippi Department of Corrections.
"If I could do it all over again, I would not change one thing.
"If I would not have gone down the path that I have gone now, I don't think I would be where I am today, and I would not have accomplished as much as I have at this point in time," said Starks.
Starks has received an Extra Effort Award and the Commission Distinguished Coin Award for bringing Washington County a rank of 100 percent during accreditation.
As warden, she plans to promote public safety, enhance the treatment and worth for the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility population and deter offenders from reentering.
"My goal is to make Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility the model for all regional facilities in the great state of Mississippi.
"I am working to ensure the betterment of the facility by making sure that the offenders and staff are safe.
"I am excited and extremely elated to be given this opportunity and I welcome the challenge," said Starks.