California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo County facing massive layoffs
August 4, 2011
Officials at the California Men’s Colony (CMC) met last week to discuss a plan to lay off about 200 employees.
Proposed layoffs at CMC include one chief deputy, two associate wardens, two captains, several lieutenants and sergeants as well as dozens of guards, sources at the prison said.
As part of the plan, last week, the California Department of Corrections sent letters to give prison employees a chance to dispute any discrepancies in their seniority standing, which is used in determining who is slated to be laid off,” according to the letters.
Officials from the California Correctional Peace Officers Association called the letters premature because the department had not provided the guard union with a plan for implementation of Assembly Bill 109, the association’s website says.
“The letter is being sent based on the premise that staffing reductions will occur as a result of the passage of AB 109, which is designed to move some low level offenders out of the state system and return them to local supervision,” the union says on its website. “Though the letter does not mention the recent Supreme Court decision, the expected population reductions may also correlate to staffing changes.”
AB 109 is slated to shift inmates convicted of offenses deemed non-serious, nonviolent and non-sexual to county jails, saving an estimated $458 million from the state’s general fund.
In addition, further non-serious offenders will be placed on non-supervised parole as part of California’s early release program. Offenders released under non-revocable parole don’t report to parole agents and can’t be sent back to prison unless they commit new crimes.
Inmate population at CMC’s east facility is slated for massive reduction with plans to switch from double-occupant cells to single-prisoner units.
Plans for the west facility include reducing from stacked bunks to single beds.
Doing so will lower the population from 90 to about 45 inmates per dorm. These changes will allow one guard to oversee two dorms instead of one dorm, which is the current practice.
“Nothing is set in stone,” CMC Captain Mike Siebert said, noting that the reduction to single cells may not occur in every cell. “This is a headquarters decision. CMC does not decide the number of staff or inmates that go.”