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California picks retiree to head prisons system

3:22 PM, Dec 19, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - Gov. Jerry Brown has picked a retired corrections chief from Pennsylvania to head California's prison system as it transitions to a smaller institution with more violent prisoners.

The Democratic governor on Wednesday named 65-year-old Jeffrey Beard as secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Beard was corrections secretary in Pennsylvania from 2001 until he retired in 2010. There, he oversaw a much smaller department under both Republican and Democratic governors.

California has about 133,000 inmates and more than 46,000 employees, but is reducing the size of both as it tries to cut costs and reduce the population in crowded prisons to comply with federal court orders.

A 2011 law is sending less serious offenders to local jails instead of state prisons, leaving behind a more violent inmate population.

The Associated Press

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