California Corrections Secretary Roderick Q. Hickman, who embodied Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s vow to turn around a violent and scandal-plagued prison system, is resigning the post he has held for more than two years, the Los Angeles Times reports. Hickman, 49, said he was quitting because he lacked political support for efforts to create a correctional system that was more than a revolving-door warehouse for felons. “I think we’ve built an excellent foundation, but I just don’t see the courage and will we need to get it done across the board in the government of California,” Hickman said.
Hickman said he had grown frustrated by legislators who attacked the department – often during public hearings – for “small mistakes” that were portrayed as a “massive failure of leadership.” He said the influence the prison guards’ union wields in Sacramento had nudged him toward the door. The California Correctional Peace Officers Assn., has battled with Hickman even though he began his career as a prison guard and was a union member for 20 years. Hickman, the administration’s highest-ranking African American, said he felt confident he could muster the votes to survive a second legislative confirmation this spring, but it was unclear whether the governor’s advisors were behind him. Jeanne S. Woodford was named acting department secretary.