Governor Tate Reeves recently announced Burl Cain as his appointment for the permanent Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) and Judge Sean Tindell for Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Following a months-long nationwide search for a qualified leader to reform MDOC, Governor Reeves has selected one of the country's most experienced, battle-tested leaders. Having led reform efforts to transform the "Bloodiest Prison in America" into a place of hope, Burl Cain is a corrections giant who is uniquely qualified to ramp up reform efforts and rehabilitation within MDOC.
"Today, we took an important step forward to continue restoring the integrity of the Department of Corrections. I am grateful to my fellow Mississippians who helped in this task to scour the nation for the right candidate," said Governor Tate Reeves. "We need a strong, experienced leader that Mississippians can trust, and I believe that person is Burl. I do not make this decision lightly. The safety and dignity of all within our system is at stake. Burl's impressive, decades-long career in corrections, leading prison facilities and ushering in progressive measures to improve conditions is exactly what we need. We still have a long road ahead of us, but Burl will lead MDOC in the right direction."
"I promise to do a great job, to help the Department of Corrections, and to do the four components essential to have a good prison. That's good food, good praying, good playing, and good medicine," said Burl Cain. "We're going to have those four components, and that's going to balance it out. I look forward to the challenges, I look forward to the job and lead Mississippi to have a great system. I thank you Governor for the faith and confidence to appoint me to Commissioner of the Department of Corrections."
Burl Cain, CCE recently retired from an extensive 40-year career in the Louisiana Department of Corrections. He began his career in corrections as Assistant Secretary of Agribusiness for the Louisiana Department of Corrections from 1976 to 1981. He served at the Senior Warden level for a total of 34 years, including 4 years as Warden of Dixon Correctional Institute from 1981 to 1995 and 20 years as the Warden of Louisiana State Penitentiary from 1995 to 2015, Louisiana’s largest maximum-security prison. From 2007 to 2015, Cain also served as Regional Warden fo the Louisiana Department of Corrections, supervising the administration of 5 Louisiana prisons, including the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women.
Once known as the “Bloodiest Prison in America,” Louisiana State Penitentiary (LSP), under Cain’s leadership, became one of the safest, most secure, and progressive maximum security prisons in the nation. LSP houses over 6,300 inmates with over 4,000 of these men serving life sentences for violent crimes.
At LSP, Cain founded and facilitated the Accredited Hospice Program and Bible College in conjunction with the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He also raised private funds to build 7 chapels for inmate use on the prison grounds. Cain worked with Awana to establish the Malachi Dad’s program as well, which reconnects inmates with their children and trains them to become positive role models. Through these progressive, rehabilitative programs, LSP’s violence rate dropped over 60%, and gang affiliation disappeared during Cain’s time as warden.
Cain currently serves as CEO and Founder of Global Prison Seminaries Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes a positive changing prison culture through theological education programs in prisons throughout the United States and internationally.
Governor Reeves also announced his pick for the Commissioner of DPS to ensure the ongoing protection of the safety and well-being of all Mississippians.
"I have known Sean for many years and consider him a good friend and strong, capable leader. Having worked with him in the Senate, I know how dedicated he is to serving the people of Mississippi," said Governor Tate Reeves. "From the Senate to the bench, Sean has spent many years fighting for the rights and safety of our people. I am grateful to have him accept this task to lead DPS and protect the safety of all who call our great state home."
"I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve the State of Mississippi as the next Commissioner for the Department of Public Safety. The Department of Public Safety has a storied history of excellence in our state, and I will work tirelessly to maintain and improve that history of excellence," said Judge Sean Tindell. "I also look forward to working with the other branches of government to ensure the safety of not only the fine men and women who work at the Mississippi Department of Public Safety but also all Mississippians."
Judge Sean J. Tindell currently serves on the Mississippi Court of Appeals representing District 5, position 2 since 2017. Previously, Judge Tindell served in the Mississippi Senate, representing District 49, from 2012 until his appointment to the bench. He was Chair of the Senate Judiciary A Committee and Vice Chair of the Senate Tourism Committee. From 2002 to 2007, he was an assistant district attorney for the Second Circuit District of Harrison, Hancock and Stone counties. Judge Tindell entered private practice in 2007, also serving as a prosecutor for the City of Biloxi and as city attorney for the City of Diamondhead.
Judge Tindell is the recipient of various awards and honors over the years for his work protecting the people of Mississippi, including 2016 Law Enforcement Officers Association Legislator of the Year, 2016 Municipal Legislator of the Year, and 2016 MADD Legislator of the Year.
Judge Tindell earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. He earned a Juris Doctorate in 2001 from Mississippi College School of Law, where he earned honors of American jurisprudence in counseling and negotiations and domestic relations.
A native Mississippian, Judge Tindell grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He is the son of Dora and the late Tom Harvey of Biloxi, and the late Sidney Tindell of Biloxi. He and his wife Claire live in Gulfport with their four children, Sam, John Thomas, Meredith and Henry.