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Head of California’s Prison System Arrested for Drunk Driving

On June 7, 2009, Scott Kernan, undersecretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) – the operational head of the state’s sprawling prison system – was arrested by the California Highway Patrol for driving under the influence in his state-issued vehicle.

Kernan, who was subsequently suspended from work for six weeks without pay, released a statement expressing remorse for his actions. Acknowledging that there was “no excuse” for his “poor judgment” and that his conduct reflected poorly on Governor Schwarzenegger, who had appointed him in 2008, Kernan announced his intention to plead guilty to DUI charges at a subsequent court hearing.

Kernan entered the guilty plea on July 16, 2009 and was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine, complete 48 hours of community service and attend a DUI class. According to the CDCR’s 2008 California Prisoners & Paroles report, 2,701 state prisoners were serving prison terms for DUI offenses.

Sources: Sacramento Bee,

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