California picks retiree to head prisons system

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday appointed 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 named Jeffrey Beard, 65, as secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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

Brown said Beard has the experience California needs.

"In the face of a plethora of Federal court decisions and the bold realignment enacted by the Legislature, Jeff Beard has arrived at the right time to take the next steps in returning California's parole and correctional institutions to their former luster," Brown said in a statement announcing the appointment.

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