PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas Department of Corrections official has been confirmed as the prison system’s new leader.

The department said Tuesday that Solomon Graves had been confirmed by the Board of Corrections as the Department of Corrections’ next secretary.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson last week appointed Graves to the post.

Graves replaces Wendy Kelley, who announced last month that she was retiring. He begins the new role Saturday.

Graves takes over the state prison and parole system as the state struggles with a coronavirus outbreak among its inmates.

Graves has served as Kelley’s chief of staff for the past year and before that was the public information officer for the Division of Correction. From 2007 to 2016, he was board administrator for the Parole Board.