The Schwarzenegger administration’s top corrections official for inmate rehabilitation stepped down Friday, as looming budget cuts threaten to carve deeply into the programs she helped foster in the nation’s largest prison system.

Kathy Jett, 56, said she was retiring after 32 years with the state so she could help tend to the health problems of her elderly mother and older sister in Florida.

Her departure comes as the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation grapples with how to slash $1.5 billion from the prisons.

A big portion of those cuts is expected to come in rehabilitation programs that Jett worked to revitalize during her tenure.


Jett, who worked for three decades in public health and the Department of Justice before moving to corrections two years ago, called stepping down “the hardest decision of my life.”

-- Eric Bailey