Former Pennsylvania prison director Jeffrey Beard was named by California Gov. Jerry Brown to run California’s crowded prison system, reports the Los Angeles Times. Beard, 65, is a vocal advocate of shorter sentences and community treatment. He succeeds Matthew Cate, who stepped down to lead the California State Association of Counties.
Beard spent nearly four decades in corrections in Pennsylvania, starting as a counselor and advancing to prison warden, eventually spending nine years as department head. He completed an expansion of that state’s prison system, including the addition of 32,000 inmate beds. He left in 2010, advocating for laws that put more criminals into work-treatment programs instead of prisons, telling lawmakers that an “over-reliance” on locking up non-serious offenders did little to improve public safety. California has until Jan. 7 to produce a plan for reducing prison crowding or face the renewed threat of federal orders to release inmates early.