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Jeffrey Beard

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 19, 2012 | By Paige St. John, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday named a vocal advocate of shorter sentences and community treatment to run the state's crowded and troubled prison system. Brown announced the selection of Jeffrey Beard, 65, the retired former Pennsylvania prisons chief, to succeed Matthew Cate, who stepped down last month after four years as secretary of corrections in California. Cate is now leader of the California State Assn. of Counties. Beard, whose appointment is subject to Senate confirmation, spent nearly four decades in corrections in Pennsylvania, starting as a counselor and advancing to prison warden, eventually spending nine years as department head.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 16, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO - Following through on a deal struck with legislative leaders, Gov. Jerry Brown told federal judges Monday that he is prepared to spends hundreds of millions of dollars moving inmates out of crowded prisons - but would rather use the money to rehabilitate prisoners so they don't come back. To do that, the state is asking for a three-year delay in meeting the inmate population caps the judges ordered in 2010. "For prison population reduction measures to be effective and lasting, they cannot be unilaterally imposed," the governor's lawyers said in a late-night filing, arguing that "state prisons are just one part of the larger, interconnected criminal justice system.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 30, 2013 | By Paige St. John, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Jeffrey Beard's expert testimony was cited 39 times in the federal court order that capped California's prison population in 2009. He said the state's prisons were severely overcrowded, unsafe and unable to deliver adequate care to inmates. At the time, he was Pennsylvania's prisons chief. Now, he's Gov. Jerry Brown's new corrections secretary, and his first order of business is to persuade the same judges to lift the cap, as well as to end the court's longtime hold on prison mental health care.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 4, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO --A state Senate panel Wednesday approved a plan to reduce prison crowding by spending more on rehabilitation and mental illness and drug treatment. The Senate Budget Committee's action sets the stage for a possible showdown with a competing proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to find alternative housing for inmates. The committee's 11-5, party-line vote came just days after the Assembly Budget Committee endorsed the governor's plan as the best way to comply with a federal court order to reduce the population in current state prisons by 9,600 inmates by the end of the year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 20, 2013 | By Paige St. John
Senate leaders are so sure they will kill Gov. Jerry Brown's court-ordered prison reduction plans that the subject matter was treated as a joke Wednesday. For an hour, senators raised serious problems at the confirmation hearing of Brown's appointed prisons chief, Jeffrey Beard, grilling him on how he was addressing valley fever deaths, inmate suicides, contraband, healthcare and a slow start to expanding prison rehabilitation programs. But then Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2013 | By Paige St. John, Los Angeles Times
California prison officials have opened a new psychiatric center for inmates, contending the $24-million treatment facility is proof the state is ready to shed federal oversight of mental-health care for prisoners. The new building at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville will provide outpatient treatment for mentally ill inmates who do not require 24-hour care. Its opening was accompanied by positioning for the courts. “It's time for the federal courts to recognize the progress the state has made and end costly and unnecessary federal oversight,” Jeffrey Beard, secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said in prepared remarks.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 7, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO -- As hundreds of California prisoners continue a hunger strike, medical staffers are struggling to keep tabs on the protest's toll. The medical receiver's office, a court-appointed agency that runs prison healthcare services, reports that 31 inmates on the hunger strike have lost more than 10% of their body weight in the past month, with five of those losing more than 15% of their weight. But 57 hunger strikers refuse to be weighed. Agency spokeswoman Joyce Hayhow said reasons for the refusals vary.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 23, 2013 | By Paige St. John, This post has been updated. See note below for details.
Freshly home from his trade tour of China, Gov. Jerry Brown made a quiet and unannounced stop: prison. The governor spent a little more than an hour on Friday at the California Institution for Men, a state prison in Chino. He was accompanied by his corrections secretary, Jeffrey Beard, and the prison system's head psychologist and acting chief of inmate mental healthcare, Tim Belavich. [Updated, 2:15 p.m. April 23 : Brown, who spoke about the trip on Tuesday, said he found no support for allegations of a continued crisis in care, even from staff hired by the court's medical receiver.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 26, 2013 | By Paige St. John
California prisons chief Jeffrey Beard says he is concerned more reductions of the state prison population would overwhelm counties already struggling with the state's 2011 realignment program. The state achieved a 25,000 reduction in its prison population by requiring counties to take on criminals from three fronts: County jails must house lower-level offenders and state parole violators, and those released from prison now go through county probation. Even so, California prisons continue to exceed population caps set by federal courts.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 21, 2013 | By Paige St. John
Early prison releases of the kind ordered by a federal court panel pose no threat to public safety, according to experts who testified on the matter the last time it came up in California. In those 2009 hearings, five experts on crime, punishment and prisons told the court that allowing inmates with good behavior to shorten their prison terms by several months has little, if any, effect on crime in the community. "There is no difference in recidivism rates by length of stay," James Austin, a Washington-based corrections consultant, testified at the time.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 4, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO - Without waiting for funding or approval from the Legislature, Gov. Jerry Brown's prison administration has told inmates that it has begun preparations to move thousands of them to private lockups, including prisons out of state. "Every potentially eligible offender will be screened for transfer.... While a transfer may cause a hardship to you or your families, it is an action the state must pursue in order to comply with a court order," reads a memo distributed Tuesday throughout the state prison system, signed by corrections secretary Jeffrey Beard.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 7, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO -- As hundreds of California prisoners continue a hunger strike, medical staffers are struggling to keep tabs on the protest's toll. The medical receiver's office, a court-appointed agency that runs prison healthcare services, reports that 31 inmates on the hunger strike have lost more than 10% of their body weight in the past month, with five of those losing more than 15% of their weight. But 57 hunger strikers refuse to be weighed. Agency spokeswoman Joyce Hayhow said reasons for the refusals vary.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 1, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO - California's prisons chief has agreed to meet for the first time with advocates for inmates who are in their fourth week of a hunger strike over conditions in solitary confinement. "It's progress," said Ron Ahnen, president of the Oakland-based group California Prison Focus, which publishes a newsletter circulated to thousands of state inmates that hunger strike organizers used to broadcast their protest. Ahnen is among a small group of activists set to meet Friday with Jeffrey Beard, Gov. Jerry Brown's appointed head of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 11, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy and Paige St. John
Over objections from Republican lawmakers, the state Senate on Thursday confirmed Gov. Jerry Brown's pick to run a corrections department one legislative leader described as "a system in crisis. " Jeffrey Beard, who came out of retirement after serving as chief of Pennsylvania's prisons, now officially commands a system with 29,000 inmates in the fourth day of a massive meal strike, a federal order to shrink the prison population by 9,600, and two facilities stricken with fatal cases of valley fever.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 21, 2013 | By Paige St. John
Early prison releases of the kind ordered by a federal court panel pose no threat to public safety, according to experts who testified on the matter the last time it came up in California. In those 2009 hearings, five experts on crime, punishment and prisons told the court that allowing inmates with good behavior to shorten their prison terms by several months has little, if any, effect on crime in the community. "There is no difference in recidivism rates by length of stay," James Austin, a Washington-based corrections consultant, testified at the time.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 20, 2013 | By Paige St. John
Senate leaders are so sure they will kill Gov. Jerry Brown's court-ordered prison reduction plans that the subject matter was treated as a joke Wednesday. For an hour, senators raised serious problems at the confirmation hearing of Brown's appointed prisons chief, Jeffrey Beard, grilling him on how he was addressing valley fever deaths, inmate suicides, contraband, healthcare and a slow start to expanding prison rehabilitation programs. But then Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 5, 2013 | By Paige St. John
A federal judge on Friday rejected Gov. Jerry Brown's claim that California has improved inmate care enough to end 17 years of court oversight of its less-crowded prisons. Brown has vowed to challenge any such rejection, if need be, before the same U.S. Supreme Court that less than two years ago deemed California prison conditions shocking. U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton's decision is a blow to Brown's larger ambition to remove court caps on prison crowding and end court control over a $1.6-billion prison medical program.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 20, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO -- State corrections officials had no immediate comment Thursday after a panel of federal judges ordered Gov. Jerry Brown to begin releasing inmates from the state's crowded prisons. "We just received the judges' 51-page order and are reviewing it now," said Deborah Hoffman, spokeswoman for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. At his state Senate confirmation hearing the day before, prisons chief Jeffrey Beard made only a passing reference to the court's looming demand for action.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 4, 2013 | Paige St. John
Under threat of contempt of court, Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a plan to ease prison crowding by releasing certain inmates early, sending others to county jails and relocating some to state fire camps -- but added that he doesn't support it. Although the plan would remove thousands of inmates from California's packed prisons, it would not meet court requirements to lower the population by more than 9,000. The jurists could order more inmates freed if they find the governor's plan unacceptable.
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