As the state of California moves ahead with plans to close several prisons, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) has secured a lucrative contract. Thousands of correctional officers are now on track to receive $10,000 bonuses.
The new contract, negotiated between CCPOA and Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration, comes with a slew of additional benefits. Over the course of the deal, about 26,000 prison guards are set to see hikes in their pay, retirement perks, and additional incentives for night-shift duty. Notably, all officers under the CCPOA will receive 3% raises for two consecutive years, with additional bonuses pegged for health and wellness.
Significant bonuses are targeted towards officers stationed at specific prisons, including Salinas Valley State Prison, California State Prison in Sacramento, and R. J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego. New recruits at these prisons could also qualify for relocation bonuses.
The contract stipulates a novel state-funded retirement scheme on top of the existing California Public Employees’ Retirement System pensions. By 2025, a sum equal to 1% of each officer’s monthly base wages will be deposited into a 401(k) plan.
According to state summaries, if the deal receives the necessary approvals, it might end up costing the state over $1 billion over a three-year period. With a diminishing prison population, currently at 96,000, down from 160,000 in 2011, Newsom’s administration is aiming for a leaner budget. The governor has already closed two prisons and has plans to shutter two more by 2025.
Despite these closures, retaining prison personnel remains vital. As per recent data, some prisons, such as California State Prison, Sacramento, report a 22% vacancy rate. Therefore, measures like these bonuses are seen as essential for both recruitment and retention.
Mary Xjimenez, spokesperson for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, commented, “Our recruitment efforts are extensive and ongoing, with California employee bonuses being a key part of our overall efforts.”
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