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.”


CMC may be laying off but apparently Paso Robles City is advertising for police, paying nearly $5800 a month:


Some how the California Department of Corrections is not on the preferential treatment list.

You need to ask the SLO Sheriff’s/Coroner’s Departmenty why they are taking up all the money for all of their cronysim and illegal activity? They feel totally blessed by the fact that they are above the law… and everyone else is just a peon peasant. I hope this Department remembers that and how all the moeny was used on people like the husband and wife team Detective Deputy Sheriff/Coroner Stuart Macdonald and his wife on the force and on the same cases/investigations while working over time of course and getting that 90% Pension plan. They must be paying a lot into it with all of those hours they are working day in and day out.


Some how the California Department of Corrections is not on the preferential treatment list.

You need to ask the SLO Sheriff’s/Coroner’s Departmenty why they are taking up all the money for all of their cronysim and illegal activity? They feel totally blessed by the fact that they are above the law… and everyone else is just a peon peasant. I hope this Department remembers that and how all the moeny was used on people like the husband and wife team Detective Deputy Sheriff/Coroner Stuart Macdonald and his wife on the force and on the same cases/investigations while working over time of course and getting that 90% Pension plan. They must be paying a lot into it with all of those hours they are working day in and day out.

Not to mention they work in teams .. you’ll have several teams with lutenant, sergeants, commanders, even the Sheriff once in a while just for one fool doing nothing … I don’t know, for whatever made up reason they made so that they can continue on with their “Policing for Profit” Campaign. They only think that matters is them .. Intelligence and Economic Espionage by a couple that are not even U.S. Citizens who are also working on Federal Military “State Secrects” Projects covert spying and experimentation on the Domestic population breaking the long held “Posse Comitatus Act.”

Essentially they work and take orders from the Military Department of Defense (DOD).


You people are aware that the officers are not the only ones working there,right?There is a lot of contract workers there especially now-try to do a back ground check on all those people .There are also people who think nothing of going on grounds at night to throw things on the yards.Get a clue, it is not like those bad movies out of hollyweird.While we are at it how about letting the criminals take some of the blame and stop whinning about pay when the article is not about that!


I can give a rat’s ass if these guys get laid off. They are way overpaid and are helping to bankrupt the state. We incarcerate too many people in CA period. All the guards and their dirty union want is to make more laws and put more people in prison. Sooner or later the day will happen when there are no taxpayers to pay their salaries because everyone but the guards are all in prison. Three strikes for stealing a friggin pizza and one does life? Stupid is as stupid does. Guards in my eyes are a bunch of wanabes. Let the negative thumbs come in losers.


I know a few guards and I resent what you’re saying. They deserve every penny that they get and it’s people like you that remind me why we need unions. They’d be eating dog food and homeless if it were up to you. They have a very dangerous job. What is happening to this country when prison guards are treated like this and corp thieves are worshiped? You cons won’t be happy until there is no middle class.


“They deserve every penny they get.” Typo lots of people “deserve” things for one reason or another. There are plenty of people out there who work two jobs and deserve to get a little extra money, but “deserve” does not equate to REALITY. We don’t always get what we deserve, sometimes we are subject to the ebbs and flows of laws, markets, health, and other things.

So that’s why private companies, who have to balance what they can afford with what they can pay, and what kind of employees the company “deserves.” The question is not “What do they deserve?” but rather “What is the lowest price that people will be willing to do job effectively.” In the market, you have to compete. In the public sector, they use concepts like DESERVE and RIGHT TO, and then if that doesn’t get them what they want, they will lie, cheat and steal like the rest.


From experience I’ve always felt that pay as a CDCR employee should be based on the level of prison you work at; for example, you work the SHU @ Pelican Bay, you get paid more… you work the country club, AKA the CMC, you get paid much less. CMC is easy street compared to other California prisons.


Because its not San Quentin or Pelican Bay doesnt change the fact that there are criminals housed there and that the risk is any different then any other prison.


I have relatives and friends who work as guards at CMC. They are the first to admit they are overpaid. They do complain about the double shifts and furlough days, though. I think there is alot of waste of taxpayers dollars at the prison and it’s high time we took a good long, hard look at every penny spent. If that means layoffs, then so be it.


Amen. There are 65,000 employees in the corrections department. 40% of them make over 100,000 a year which is extremely high pay for unskilled labor. In addition, they can retire….and most do retire well shy of age 65 and with up to 90% of their pay (courtesy of us taxpayers) So a 20 year old can get a job work 30 years retire at 50 and make 90% of his salary. His replacement then starts and works 30 years and retires about the same time the first guy kicks the bucket. SO in reality we are paying twice the price for every position….So figure a guard position in a prison costs us a minimum of 200,000 a year. Privatize the whole system or ship the inmates to Kansas where they have built a cottage industry around private prisons…Saves us money better spent on worthwhile items like EDUCATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE


“dodging human feces, urine, and spit as you do your job.”

You have to be 21 to start employment as a C/O, and nope, no college required, but LOTS of training before and during..continuously!! and if you can make it 30 years you can retire with 90% of your pay..that is IF…many incur health issues, injuries, stress, etc..the job isn’t easy..the job is physical and mental. Officers don’t make 100,00 a year..unless they do alot of overtime which is often forced..”i’m sorry, but you CANT go home” The average life expectancy of a Corrections employee after retirement is 5 years. I’m not sure where your getting your 200,000 price tag on a guard position per year….but again..if you think you can do it.. go do it! Everyone just wants to voice there one has actual knowledge.


I’ve been to CMC several times (not as a prisoner or employee). It appeared to be well-run by professionals. It’s a job most of us wouldn’t want considering the clientel. Imagine spending your shift amongst criminals day after day. Having said that, I also feel that being able to retire at age 50 and receive over 90% of your pay is out of line. Most workers, many of whom have other types of stress/hard work associated with their jobs, don’t receive near that generous of benefits.


Public safety people retire on disability for the generous tax breaks in both Fed and State codes; not to say the job isn’t strenuous (isn’t that what the 6-figure pay package is for?).

Just saying, most public safety employees retire on a disability for tax reasons (i.e. keeping more of their retirement, ironically). Too bad private sector folks don’t get many options to keep more of what they earn…


I know a former dental hygenist, high school substitute teacher, and private security guard who are now cozy at CMC as COs. They had absolutely no weapons training prior to their new job. Each of them make a minimum of net take home $3800. Net. Their decisions to improve their financial lives were weighed against the risk. Apparently, they all felt the money was worth it. None of them received a letter of intent to lay off.


That jowl faced thing, called Kelly Gearhart is a perfect example of what you are talking about, but,,, why the hell is he not in prison$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$


From all the thumbs down, I would have to assume that there are a lot of union prison guards posting on here…

Question, if the job is so bad why did you take it and if the perps are so violent or dangerous did you take the job?

I am from the side of the street that thinks we put people in jail for breaking the law. Petty things and let heinous criminals go free it seems whether you really broke the law or not. The system is borken and if you have the money or your case generates enough publicity you get good lawyers and because of the liberal courts you just might get away with murder…


Everyday a guard goes into any of these facilities it could be there last. Lets face it alot of these people are in prison for serious crimes murder, rape, child molestors etc etc. And some of these people are doing life sentences and to take another human life is like a normal day in the office to them. Having human feces and urine thrown at you with every disease known to man kind in it on a regular basis. Exposure to communicable diseases that run rampatant in the prisons. These are just a few reasons why they make a decent wage. Standup I recommend you walk in there shoes for a while before you get down on the career path they have chosen. And NO I am not a guard!!! Reason some I just listed. You are entitled to your opinion and I respect that although there is more to it than meets the eye.


Everyday a guard goes into any of these facilities it could be there last enjoy yourself its later than you think!

seriously when was the last time a guard was murdered on the job by an inmate? accident on the way to work ? sure all the time but killed by the mean incarcerate? insert bronx cheer fart noise.


the two links posted are for Manuel Gonzales and Jaime Biendle two guards murdered on in Chino one in WA..we have had numerous staff assaults..nope, no one murdered at CMC. Thank GOD! but assaulted yes…throat slit, legs broken, (at the knees), hit over the head, punched,,, when you walk thru the never know what your day will hold for you. Who are you?

And to to the one who said disibility retirement is more beneficial to the pocketbook..No it isn’t, regular retirement is better…even taxed.

The people that are in prison are there bc a jury of their piers put then there and they have a sentence to fullfill. We didn’t put them there. We are there to maintain the safety and security. A crime is a crime..

mkaney: I’m not sure what you are saying with your “lie, cheat and steal implications…this comment thread has been blown so out of proportion it’s ridiculous. This article is about the layoffs and single cell replacements…but the commets have been ball busting to C/O’s..we live in your communities and go to your churches..we are your neighbors and friends….we have families just like you and work hard to support our families. This is crazy. and so sad. Yep, we get a few bad ones, but what company doesn’t..that includes all law enforcement agencies. And I’m to presume that its bc we work at CMC that we are getting all of this bad judgement? Thats just plain riiculous!


you’re all speaking from ignorance..go do the job, then lets hear what you have to say. Everyone wants to throw their two cents in. But none of you would want to do the work for 20-30 years. And we all have our different reasons for being there..yes our choice. Talk all you want about the politics of it..couldn’t give a s—. But there are a lot of good ppl that work hard and do a great job all over this state. Working with the ppl that most don’t want on the streets. They don’t change, we just have to communicate and learn to live with them for a very long time. Aside from our weapons training thats what we have to be good at.


Well, I don’t feel that I’m speaking completely from ignorance, I have a close family member that works in a prison. That’s not the same as me actually working in a prison but I hear the inside scoop. But other than that I agree with you. I feel that over all the guards do a great job and I hate to see the state cutting their jobs. The problem with some people is that they read about a prison staff member being on the take (ie. selling cell phones) and they lump all the guards together. Just as with any field there are going to be some bad seeds. People in forums like this have a tendency to gripe about everything but I don’;t believe that people like Cindy speak for most people. I feel that most people respect what you do, I know I couldn’t do it.


I have a close family member who is age 50+ who became a guard at CMC 3 years ago strictly for the benefits and pay. She works very hard at what she does, often times she works double shifts. However, I do feel there are more people who take on this job strictly for money and will do everything they can to get as much as possible, no matter the cost to taxpayers. It is all about the money, not the “desire” to serve.


There are lots of people that do their jobs only for money. Who doesn’t try to get paid as much as possible? I’ve told this story before so I’ll make is brief. My family member works in the psych ward of a large over crowded state prison. Due to cut backs a 60+ nurse recently got the cr@p beat out of her because the prison cut back from two guards to one guard to guard the craziest of the crazies as she was handing out meds. BTW my family member lovers his/her job and so did that nurse.

I knew the truce couldn’t last long, now back to our corners.


Hmmm Typo your family member lovers ???? Incest run in your family ? I gotta give it to you …thats a classic typo typo


Oh geeeez, I just can’t seem to match my brain to my fingers when I’m typing.


You are still Queen of a type, and we forgive you at my house, my dad is 83 and still gets his $700.00 a month from the pension, this contributes to your statement, that people take as much money as they can, even if they don’t really need it, these fucked up pensions for state employees are out of control, and get this his young wife from another country who is not proud of her U.S. citizenship get’s his pension when he dies, where does it end? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$


Cmon SSS you are one of my favorites cut out the hack comments, bet she can type faster than you.


There is no war, just variety of opinion. We are not that different in this respect. I have a sister who is a psychologist on staff at a prison. She, in my opinion, does not get paid ENOUGH for what she has to do. She takes defense classes every 6 months, walks with caution and basically lives her private life in alert mode.

I am sorry to hear of the violence to your family member. I trust they came out without permanent injury?


Been at my job for 30 years. I am also good at it. I don’t like all the people I work with but who does in ANY job? As for weapons training, it is not uncommon for some CMC guards to have NEVER fired a weapon before the onset of going to academy for guard training. I commend the guards at CMC for their courage and ability to work with those who society has deemed criminals. I myself would not choose that career for ANY amount of money. However, I do feel the “your all speaking from ignorance” comment only justifies how many people here feel. We are not ignorant, we pay your salaries.


” I don’t like all the people I work with but who does in ANY job?”

Are you kidding! Working with prisoners isn’t like working as checker at the local Albertsons and not liking your coworker Judy because she gossips too much. That statement alone only backs up what mickie said. There’s a huge difference between trying to break up an argument at the office than dodging human feces and spit as you do your job.

Many people here might feel that way but hopefully most others don’t.


LOL!!! You misunderstood my post. But that’s ok. Feel free to vent, you obviously needed to!


“Prisons are going to get more dangerous now with less guards? That’s OK because then the job will match the pay finally.”

“I can give a rat’s ass if these guys get laid off. They are way overpaid and are helping to bankrupt the state.”

“these citizens you treated like animals.”

Statements like these are the reason for my statement. Most people have no idea what they are talking about but want to talk anyway! So go ahead..let em all out, they will be coming to a neighborhood near you soon. Then the taxpayers will have to pay to have them locked up again when they commit another crime. And the statistics show that they will. I have seen the revolving door for almost 20 years. sad but true. It doesn’t matter what you do ..can’t change the public opinion. We just had an officer loose his life..the disgusting comments left on the page of the newspaper article were shameless, all because the public has a distorted opinion of us. Like I our job..then pass judgement.


I watched on public television, a jail house black prisoner rapist stabbed 67 times in the head, neck and etc. There were plenty of guards it took five minutes for them to arrive in full swat gear,TOO MOP UP THE BLOOD, SUCH A HARD JOB! The clown on the horn acted like it was the Opra show! I would of gone in! Sissy Guards do no good! No courage, don’t take the job,

if you are a woman, get a 5th degree black belt before you apply for this job.


Have done the job… I’ve always felt that pay as a CDCR employee should be based on the level of prison you work at; for example, you work the SHU @ Pelican Bay, you get paid more… you work the country club, AKA the CMC, you get paid much less. CMC is easy street compared to other Californian prisons.


They got greedy & made big money by becoming a powerful voting block and were rewarded for putting in the right politicians. They should have owned up to it, took a pay cut down to what the job really deserves by renegotiating. Who didn’t see this coming?

Prisons are going to get more dangerous now with less guards? That’s OK because then the job will match the pay finally.

Bad or no negotiations put them out of a job. They’re letting people OUT of jail, the economy is destroyed and you stand by your obscene pay rates given to you by politicians you agreed to vote for?

To the guards: get better reps. yours sat on their hands and didn’t see this coming.


Of course they’re going to lay of dozens of guards instead of the higher ups. Like the schools laying off dozens of teachers without laying off admin. it’s pathetic. I agree that there is a lot of cleaning up to do, there is an inexcusable amount of waste in the prisons but just cutting back on personal only only makes prisons a more dangerous environment for the staff as well as other prisoners.

Cut back on throwing druggies in there, it’s be cheaper to put them in drug rehabs. Stop the frivolous law suits by the prisoners. There are more practical ways to cut back rather than putting prison staff at risk.


You obviously aren’t that familiar with the correctional system if you don’t recognize that a Chief Deputy, Associate Warden & Captain ARE “higher ups”.


Before I laid off by seniority, I would do some surprise drug testing and shake downs (on the guards) for contraband. They might find that seniority might not play such a high role in the bigger picture of who stay’s and who goes. Of course they are special and we can’t check to see if they use drugs or sell cell phones to prisoners.


WOW, Check out those thumbs. There is your % of the prison guards that are dirty. Why wouldn’t an innocent person not want to prove themselves and be drug tested or searched once and a while for contraband? BREAK UP THE UNION. A union has no place in the public sector. This isn’t supposed to be our servants against us, it’s supposed to be all for one and one for all when you work in the public sector.


If there is reason to check, we do get checked, AND our personal belongings are checked everyday entering the institution. We also get random drug tests. We aren’t above anything and if they are dirty..we want them makes our job harder and more dangerous. Not sure what made you think we didn’t. The surprise checks are also done randomly. So, I don’t know who doesn’t want it but CMC already gets all of it!


Mickie, If the guards are randomly drug tested and their belongings are searched for contraband then I stand corrected.

Many of us mentioned drug testing for police and deputies after we noticed some unreasonable violent behavior patterns and other oddities in some of our local LEO behaviors. The most egregious offenders were those employed through the SLOPD and SLOSD. The police chief and sheriff both stated that the contracts didn’t allow for random drug testing of those personnel, as they had a right to their privacy!

Considering all the recent contraband violations at the CMC and other prisons , I naturally assumed that this “right to privacy privilege” extended to the SLO County CMC guards. I apologize if I was wrong.


No problem…it wasn’t always like this but in the last 10-12 years it has been. And yes..theres always bad in every bunch. Unfortunate but true…in all departments- prisons, PD, state trooper etc.. no one is perfect. Believe me its sad when it happens but better for everyone when someone is dirty and they are caught.


Off subject but all cops should be drug tested, the temptation is there because they have confiscated drugs, to try out, even if they have never done any in their whole life, doesn’t it say some where in the bible to remove temptation, some cops get high, cops do crimes, real cops are fine, drug test all of them and while your at it, throw in a psychic evaluation!


This is not accurate re: belongings searched for contraband and the drug testing ratio is laughable.


ha, glancing in a lunchbox from several feet away (often in a crowd) as you ENTER (not exit) is not having your personal belonging checked thoroughly!


Let’s just contract out our state’s incarceration of prisoners to third party contractors in Mexico. 2 meals a day and 1 hour of outdoor exercise; after those two requirements, implementation is up to the contractor.

Our costs would plummet 90%.

The contractors would get paid on a inmate/day scale, so the incentive for them would be to keep the prisoner as long as possible with no early releases.

Upon release, all prisoners would be transported to their country of citizenship.

Pretty simple it would seem.



Hmmm, see not only is this unconstitutional, it is considered torture by the Geneva Convention. On the other hand, if you think that is the way to treat US citizens convicted of minor felonies, how bout we start with your cute 11 year old who just shoplifted a candy bar from the 7-11 or stole a ruler from school…

Oh, and do your research, nearly 90% of inmates under the care and control of the CDCR are US Citizens, so these citizens you treated like animals will be right back in your neighborhood, much more violent than they were when they were locked up for parole violations, drug abuse, larceny, theft or burglary…


these citizens we treat like animals? really? when was the last time you were inside of the prison and saw how they were treated? Certainly not like animals. They are treated very good.. Meals, medical, education, church, you name it. And our officers actually talk to and communicate with the inmates. The inmates are treated with respect. You do have some where it’s kind of hard to get to tha place, but that’s on them, not for our lack of trying. CMC has always been known for communication. Ask some of the old lifers that used to be there..It’s a good prisons go. So if your not an I/m or a guard you probably don’t really know what goes on. You get your info from what your told. So you know what they say, Don’t believe what you hear and only believe half of what you see.


Your cut in pay is because of the never ending pension pass down! I was not well raised by a teacher at CMC, I went on to a history of violence protecting those who could not protect themselves, I never did one day in jail for violence, because I acted when needed, and only on the right side of the law, or you would have been the guard I liked.

And I know almost everything that went on at CMC, working there changes a person, there should be a ten year limit and then you are moved to social service or the army depending on the outcome of your physic evaluation. It’s a hard job mentally,,,,,,,,,,,,,,yes,,, tell that to those with a blown out vertebra from construction. And no pension, gas is turned off, electricity gone, food breadline is full of child molesters CMC let out!

Subject of child molesters, the electric chair or my kid, my gun, eye for an eye type of thing.


Geneva Convention??? Who is California at war with???

Unconstitutional??? Can you point out what part of the US or CA Constitution addresses prisoner housing, location, conditions, or any Supreme Court cases that address this?

Nearly 21,000 out of roughly 160,000 CA inmates are illegal aliens.

I was not advocating incarcerating MORE people, just housing the ones that we now have differently.


prisoners are already being contracted out to other states! We pay for other states to incarcerate individuals sentenced in CA.


Lemme understand this. The State is going to furlough “one chief deputy, two associate wardens, two captains, several lieutenants and sergeants as well as dozens of guards” without closing down a section of the prison? Are there really that many wasted paychecks out there at “the colony?” If that’s the case the California prison system needs a top-to-bottom review and we need to slash the deadwood — strong unions or not. Yeah, I know “these proposed layoffs will put guards at greater danger.” Poppycock. Clean it up already!