A day after the state's prison chief resigned from his post, Gov. Pat Quinn moved to name the first woman to the spot.
Gladyse Taylor has served as the Department of Correction's assistant director since May and was previously the deputy director of Quinn's budget office.
"I go with the best person. I think she's the best person. She's the assistant director of corrections. She knows that department like the back of her hand. She's a strong person," Quinn said Friday, according to WBEZ radio.
He didn't say, however, whether he would nominate Taylor to the job permanently.
"We'll deal with that at that time, but right now we have a good person running the Department of Corrections, and she knows how to run things," the Chicago Tribune quoted the governor as saying. "I am very impressed with her ability to move things forward."