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Head of California prison system resigning after reform effort stymied

[JURIST] California Youth and Adult Corrections Secretary Roderick Hickman [official profile] said over the weekend that he is resigning his post after a two year attempt to reform California's prison system. Appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger [official website], Hickman was tasked with improving a correctional system that faces immense problems such as overcrowding, an aging inmate population and an entrenched gang problem. Federal judge Thelton E. Henderson [profile] threatened [JURIST report] to take over the California prison health care system [backgrounder] last year, citing the "terrible" medical care that prisoners receive. Hickman cited lack of political support for his resignation, including disagreements with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association [official website]. Over the past two years, Hickman worked to reemphasize rehabilitation into prison operations, consulted with academia for new initiatives, and led efforts to implement effective inmate programs.

The $8.2 billion California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation [official website] houses more than 171,000 youth and adult convicts and employs 59,000 throughout the state. The Los Angeles Times has more.

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