SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California's corrections chief is stepping down after three years overseeing a prison system that has dramatically shrunk.
Jeffrey Beard has been secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation since December 2012.
Beard said in a letter Thursday that he will leave the post on Jan. 1.
He took over a system that was once the nation's largest but faced a federal court order to reduce overcrowding. The population began dropping in 2011 under a law that sent lower-level offenders from state prisons to county jails.
Thousands more convicts were released after voters last year reduced penalties for some drug and property crimes.
Brown did not immediately appoint a replacement.
Beard previously headed Pennsylvania's prison system from 2001 to 2010.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.
for more features.