Joe Booker, Deputy Director of Corrections in the state Public Safety Department, is resigning effective Friday to take a job in New Mexico.

Booker “is leaving to become Deputy Commissioner for Corrections in New Mexico, where he can be closer to his children,” said DPS Director Jodie Maesaka-Hirata.

“We wish him well. He’s been a great asset to us, a real team player,” said Maesaka-Hirata.

Booker has held his post here for a year. He has worked in corrections for some 35 years, previously serving in a variety of prison posts including warden of the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu.

Booker has children living in Texas and Arizona, said Maesaka-Hirata and his new job will allow him to send more time with them, she said.

No replacement has been selected.

Booker’s departure comes as the state is gearing up plans for return to Hawaii of some 1,500 prison inmates now incarcerated in a private prison in Arizona.

The resignation is one in a recent string of high-ranking departures from Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration.

 

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