Our State Worker column in today's Bee lays out the latest developments in the tussle between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and State Controller John Chiang over whether CCPOA members and their supervisors should receive full pay for January. You can click here to get up to speed on why Chiang says he has to do this and click here for a blog post that details the heat-seeking letters that flew back and forth between the SCO and the Department of Personnel Administration on Monday and Tuesday.
On Wednesday afternoon Schwarzengger filed a "petition for writ of supersedeas and request for temporary stay" in San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal to keep Chiang from restoring correctional officers to full pay.
Click the following link for links to court documents and to read what CDCR says ending self-directed furloughs would do to the prison and parole systems.
We thought Exhibit J, starting on page 66 of the appendix, was particularly interesting. It's a declaration by CDCR Undersecretary Scott Kernan that says complying with Judge Frank Roesch's order to discontinue self-directed furloughs and give prison officers time off during the same period for which their pay is cut would force his department to "enact extreme measures which would pose a health and safety risk to CDCR staff, inmates and the general public."
Kernan posits that directed furloughs would force CDCR to keep about 85 positions open every day. To compensate for that, the department would have to keep inmates in their cells for longer stretches and end activities such as, "... yard, dayroom, telephones, visiting, self-help programming and hobby craft." That would, in turn, would probably ramp up tensions that the prisons and "likely result in increased violence towards staff and other inmates."
Enforcing directed furloughs each month also would put CDCR at risk of violating federal mental health and medical mandates, Kernan said, because the policy would cut down on staff available for escort duty.
Other impacts: more contraband in prisons since there would be fewer searches and sanitation services would erode because inmate cleaning crews would be more restricted.
CDCR parol officers would miss mandated deadlines for parole violation reports, Kernan said, and parole hearings would be delayed. Prison counselors wouldn't be as accessible. Processing prisoners into the system would take longer, "resulting in backlogs in county jails and inability to move inmates to general population settings to begin their programming."