With a distinguished career spanning more than 30 years, Commissioner Tony Parker has become a nationally recognized leader in the field of corrections. He first joined the Tennessee Department of Correction as a correctional officer in 1983, and worked his way up to the role of Assistant Commissioner of Prisons in 2012. Parker’s knowledge, experience, and commitment to service earned him the respect of his peers and prompted Governor Bill Haslam to appoint him to the role of Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction in June 2016. He now leads the team of more than 6,000 correctional professionals responsible for overseeing the 110,000 offenders statewide in prisons and on community supervision.
A West Tennessee native, Parker began his career with TDOC as a correctional officer at the Lake County Regional Correctional Facility. He quickly rose through the ranks, serving as a corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, associate warden and deputy warden before being named Warden at Northwest Correctional Complex in 2003. Parker was appointed as Warden of the West Tennessee State Penitentiary in 2006 and in 2008 once again took on the role of Warden at Northwest Correctional Complex. In 2011, he was promoted to Correctional Administrator of the West Region, a role in which he oversaw operations for all TDOC prisons in West Tennessee. Just a year and a half later in 2012, Parker was appointed as Assistant Commissioner of Prisons. In this role, he supervised all prison operations statewide and was responsible for oversight of the Department’s security operations and offender management.
While working for TDOC, Parker put himself through school, earning an associate degree in criminal justice from Dyersburg State Community College in 1993, a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1995, and a Master of Arts degree in security studies from the prestigious Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA in 2013.
In addition to his work with TDOC, Parker’s insight and in-depth knowledge of prison systems has earned him national recognition. In 2015, he testified before members of the U.S. House Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee as a subject matter expert on prison radicalization. He is also an active member of the American Correctional Association, serving as a correctional auditor.
Commissioner Parker lives in Union City with his wife Misty and three children.