Beard was first appointed to the position by Governor Jerry Brown last December. He’s been in the job since then but the Senate made his appointment official today. Democratic Senator Loni Hancock says Beard is the right person to lead the prison system through a time of crisis.
“The over population in our prisons has lead the United States Supreme Court to say that the conditions under which we confine people are cruel and unusual punishment and against the Constitution,” she says.
Hancock also cited California’s high recidivism rate, its lack of rehabilitation programs for inmates, hunger strikes and disease outbreaks in prisons. She says it’s important to confirm Beard so he can continue dealing with the problems.
Beard’s opponents questioned his experience. They cited the high inmate death rate in the Pennsylvania while he was in charge of the prison system there.
Beard was confirmed on a 23-6 vote.