Keith Jackson Appointed Secretary of Justice and Public Safety Cabinet          

Gov. Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, has officially appointed Keith Jackson as the Secretary of the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.

Jackson has served as the cabinet’s deputy secretary since August 2021. Prior to joining the cabinet, he was the commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Veteran Affairs.

“This team has been serving the commonwealth for numerous years in Veterans Affairs, fire and emergency services, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and the Department of Corrections,” Beshear said in a news release. “They have been with my administration since the beginning of my first term and are true public servants who want the very best for this commonwealth, ensuring that all Kentuckians are safe, healthy, and have the needed resources to best provide for their families.” 

In June 2012, Jackson made history by becoming the first African American appointed chief of the Lexington Division of Fire and Emergency Services. Secretary Jackson is a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves, where he served for 27 years in numerous capacities ranging from platoon leader up to battalion command.

“The future of Kentucky is bright, and we are more equipped now than ever before to keep our communities safe and create a better commonwealth for future generations,” said Secretary Jackson. “As we have been for the last four years, we are focused on protecting our heroes, fighting addiction, seeking justice for victims, reducing recidivism by building second chances, and ensuring all Kentuckians are not only safe but feel safe.” 

Beshear also appointed Mona Womack as deputy secretary and Randy White as commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice. 

Prior to being appointed deputy secretary, Mona Womack served as the cabinet’s chief of staff for two and a half years. Deputy Secretary Womack has an accomplished history working in Kentucky state government. Before joining the cabinet, she served as executive advisor to the Public Protection Cabinet, acting commissioner of the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction, and acting executive director of the Office of Claims & Appeals. She also served for 26 years at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services as an attorney, division director, and deputy general counsel. 

“The administration has made great strides in the public safety arena by increasing pay for our prison and juvenile justice correctional officers and Kentucky State Police troopers, which have dramatically reduced staff vacancies,” Deputy Secretary Womack said. “We have also increased personnel at our medical examiner’s office, which is critical to Kentucky families who have lost a loved one. We have reduced overdose deaths, increased the law enforcement training stipend and strengthened our juvenile justice system. Over these next four years, we will build on these successes and continue to work hard to make Kentucky a national leader in public safety.” 

Beshear also announced that effective April 1, Randy White will serve as commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice.  

In December 2023, Commissioner White retired from the Department of Corrections after 27 years of service. During his career he served in numerous leadership positions, including deputy commissioner of Adult Institutions, warden of Kentucky State Penitentiary and Green River Correctional Complex, deputy warden of Luther Luckett Correctional Complex, classification and treatment officer, corrections unit manager and procedures/accreditation specialist, and correctional officer. Most recently he served as deputy commissioner, a position he held for five and a half years.