FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The commissioner of Kentucky's prison system has resigned.

A spokesman for the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet said on Tuesday that Department of Corrections Commissioner Rodney Ballard resigned to "pursue a private sector venture." Spokesman Mike Wynn said the cabinet will begin searching for a replacement immediately. Deputy Commissioner Jim Erwin will oversee operations in the interim.

Ballard had the job for just over a year. Before that, he was a Kentucky State Police officer and investigator and was in charge of the Fayette County Detention Center.

His departure comes as the department is struggling with overcrowding at state prisons and local jails. Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley said the state is considering using private prisons again to help with overcrowding.