SACRAMENTO — With California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Secretary Scott Kernan retiring August 31, 2018, following more than three decades of service, CDCR today announced that Undersecretary of Operations Ralph Diaz will serve as Acting Secretary.
“I am grateful for Scott’s dedicated service to California,” said Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., who appointed Kernan Secretary in December 2015. “Under Scott’s leadership our correctional institutions made real and lasting improvements – for the staff, for the inmates and for the people of California.”
As Secretary, Kernan led a department of 65,000 employees with a $12 billion annual budget overseeing more than 100,000 inmates and 45,000 parolees.
“Returning to CDCR to lead as Secretary has been the chance of a lifetime,” Kernan said. “This is not the department of 20 years ago when our main goal was to lock people up safely. We now have a better system – a system that now provides hope.”
Under Kernan’s leadership, CDCR has restructured how people are incarcerated in order to reduce recidivism and avoid court-ordered releases. During his tenure the department expanded and improved reentry programs, refocused in-prison programming to emphasize wellness and improved staff training programs. The department also made progress on rebuilding and repairing prison facilities and key infrastructure.
With Kernan’s departure, Ralph Diaz, who has served as CDCR’s Undersecretary of Operations since 2016, will serve as Acting Secretary effective September 1, 2018. Diaz was previously deputy director of facility operations from 2014 to 2016 and associate director of high security institutions from 2013 to 2014. He served in several positions at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran from 2000 to 2013, including warden, acting warden, chief deputy administrator, captain and counselor supervisor. Diaz was a correctional counselor and correctional officer at California State Prison, Corcoran from 1993 to 2000 and a correctional officer at Wasco State Prison from 1991 to 1993.
Kathleen Allison, Director of the Division of Adult Institutions, will serve as Acting Undersecretary of Operations. The Division of Adult Institutions will be led by Connie Gipson, Deputy Director of Facility Operations, from September 1, 2018 until October 31, 2018, and Jeff Macomber, Deputy Director of Facility Support, from November 1, 2018, through January 6, 2019, when the Governor’s term concludes.
Kernan began his career at CDCR in 1983 as a correctional officer at San Quentin State Prison and promoted to correctional sergeant in 1985, associate budget analyst in 1986, correctional lieutenant in 1987 and correctional captain in 1991. He served as a correctional administrator from 2000 to 2001 and chief deputy warden from 2001 to 2003. He became warden at Mule Creek State Prison in 2003 and warden of California State Prison-Sacramento in 2004. Kernan became deputy director of adult institutions in 2006, chief deputy secretary of adult operations in 2007 and undersecretary of operations from 2008 to 2011. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1979 to 1982.