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Second-ranking state prison administrator arrested

June 10, 2009 |  4:36 pm

Scott Kernan, the second-ranking administrator of California’s prison system, has been arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol in his state car, triggering a disciplinary review and postponement of a June 24 state Senate confirmation hearing, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Kernan, 47, was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in November as undersecretary for prison operations for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, a job that had him running the state’s 33 prisons on a daily basis, said agency spokesman Seth Unger.

The arrest was made at 8:10 p.m. Sunday by California Highway Patrol officers in Sacramento County. Kernan has been placed on paid personnel leave pending possible disciplinary action that could range from suspension to termination, Unger said.

Kernan “notified the [CDCR] secretary immediately and expressed deep remorse for his actions," Unger said.

Kernan started work for the agency in 1983 as a correctional officer and later worked as a warden.

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento