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Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed a former Pennsylvania prison chief secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Brown's office announced this morning.

Jeffrey Beard, 65, was secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections from 2001 to 2010, Brown's office said. He consulted for California's prison system on litigation filed on behalf of inmates who complained prisons failed to provide adequate mental health treatment, and he was a member of a 2007 panel assessing the effectiveness of California's adult prison and parole programs, according to the governor's office.

"The new secretary has just the experience California needs," the Democratic governor said in a prepared statement. "He's been a prison warden, led the correctional system in Pennsylvania, and more recently participated in the federal oversight of California's prisons, visiting the majority of our institutions. 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."

Beard replaces Matt Cate, who announced his resignation in October to become executive director of the California State Association of Counties.

Beard, of Bellefonte, Pa., is registered decline-to-state. He received a doctorate and master of education in counseling from Pennsylvania State University, Brown's office said. The position requires Senate confirmation and pays $225,000 a year.


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