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State parole director to step down

July 16, 2009 |  2:16 pm

The director of the state’s mammoth parole system, Thomas Hoffman, is retiring from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration at the end of the month.

Hoffman, who joined the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in 2006, was credited in a memo today by state prisons chief Matt Cate for “serving as a catalyst of change, within a challenging correctional environment.”

Cate said Hoffman had advanced evidence-based approaches to dealing with the state’s parole system, which tracks 111,000 former prisoners.

California puts more of its ex-convicts on parole than almost any other state, and returns 70,000 to prison on parole violations each year. The state has taken a few steps in recent years to decrease monitoring of the least risky parolees to save money and reduce prison overcrowding.

Hoffman, a former West Sacramento deputy police chief and Inglewood police officer, created some friction when he entered the close-knit state prison culture. His interim replacement is the deputy parole director, Robert Ambroselli.

-- Michael Rothfeld in Sacramento