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Committee supports Brown's nominee to head prisons

Posted: June 19, 2013 5:30 p.m.
Updated: June 19, 2013 5:30 p.m.
 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A legislative committee has recommended that the Senate confirm Gov. Jerry Brown's choice to lead California's prison system.

Members of the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday challenged how acting Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard is dealing with multiple inmate deaths from suicides and from Valley Fever, a soil-borne fungus in the San Joaquin Valley.

They asked whether the shift in sentencing thousands of lower-level criminals to county jails instead of state prisons is causing a spike in crime. And they wondered when the state might free itself from federal control of its prison medical and mental health operations.

Despite concerns from prison-reform groups, the committee voted 3-1 to recommend Beard's confirmation.

The Democratic governor nominated Beard in December. He previously oversaw the state prison system in Pennsylvania.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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