CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard on Thursday announced his intention to retire at the end of the year. Gov.  Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued the following statement:

“Secretary Beard took charge of California’s prison system at a time of great challenge, including overcrowding and numerous federal lawsuits,” said Gov. Brown. “Thanks to his outstanding leadership, today’s California correctional institutions are safer and more focused on rehabilitation.”

Jeff Beard

Secretary Beard

Here is text of the letter Secretary Beard released to CDCR employees:

Dear Friends and Colleagues at CDCR,

I am writing to you all with the news that I will soon be stepping down. I have informed Governor Brown of my intention to resign my position as Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, effective January 1, 2016.

I am proud to have been a part of the CDCR team for the last three years. It has been a real pleasure to serve with so many hardworking, dedicated people. We have accomplished so much together and I believe that CDCR is well placed for the future and the credit for that goes to everyone who works here.

It is not easy to leave such a great organization and such great people, but we all have other responsibilities in our lives. As some of you know, my family is on the other side of this country. After three years in California, it is time for me to return there. Knowing the commitment among you all to ensure CDCR is the finest correctional agency in this nation makes the decision to leave somewhat easier.

When I became Secretary in December 2012 we faced many challenges. Working together, we have made great progress and I’ll take a moment to reflect on that.

Our prison population is now below the court cap, and we got there early. While the Three-Judge Court case is not yet over, we are working on creating the conditions so that it can end. We have also resolved the Mitchell and Ashker cases, and made significant progress in others, including Plata, Coleman and Farrell. The drop in the prison population has also allowed us to stop housing thousands of California inmates in other states.

Responsibility for medical care has started to shift back to CDCR, and we’ve made rehabilitation a true priority with the addition of programs, and our commitment to effective reentry. We’re also making our prisons safer by focusing on drug interdiction, and improving training and operations. Everyone who works in CDCR’s prisons knows there’s been a steep reduction in lockdowns.

Thank you all for your support and hard work. I wish you the best and look forward to hearing about the continuing success of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Jeffrey A. Beard, Ph.D.