California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who vows to root out corruption and waste in the state’s $5.7 billion prison system, has named a former prosecutor to head the corrections department’s Office of Inspector General. The Sacramento Bee says the appointment of Matthew Cate, 37, who has prosecuted public corruption cases for state attorney general Bill Lockyer, was hailed by Lockyer. “The governor’s appointment of Matt Cate as inspector general demonstrates to me that he’s serious about good oversight of California’s prison and parole system,” Lockyer said.
Schwarzenegger had earlier tried to weaken the inspector general’s office, calling it a “waste.” The 10-year-old agency performed audits and investigated wrongdoing, but many critics said it had proved ineffective in rooting out systemic corruption in the vast prison system.
As Cate’s appointment was announced, a federal judge in San Francisco, citing the “sorry history” of California’s handling of prison disciplinary problems, gave a green light to a state’s plan for independent oversight of prison guard misconduct.