Thursday, March 17, 2005

Secretary Asks for Review of all State Prisons and Juvenile Facilities

BAKERSFIELD – California Board of Corrections Chairman Roderick Q. Hickman today, following the receipt of another critical report on staff safety at the California Institution for Men, asked the Board to establish a panel to review staff safety issues at all the state's 32 prisons, and eight juvenile facilities.

The board will take formal action on this request at its next business meeting. In the meantime, Board staff will work with the directors of both the California Youth Authority and the Department of Corrections to establish the broad-based panel.

The staff will invite representatives from the American Correctional Association, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the Association of State Correctional Administrators, the Association of Black Correctional Workers, the Chicano Correctional Workers Association, the California Correctional Supervisors Association, the California Department of Corrections and the California Youth Authority to participate as members of this panel. The panel will be charged to evaluate staff safety practices and provide recommendations to the departments to improve safety for all employees in state prisons and juvenile facilities.

"The two reports I have received on the homicide of Correctional Officer Manuel A. Gonzalez, Jr., made it very clear to me that we as a state must do more - better training and supervision - to ensure our staff is safe," said Hickman, who is also Secretary of the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency.

CDC Director Jeanne S. Woodford and CYA Director Walt Allen, both passionately committed to improving staff safety, have offered to provide employee expertise and support for the board and the proposed panel.

The Board of Corrections has the statutory authority to provide evaluation and review and inspection of local detention facilities and to set operational standards for both youth and adult facilities.

"The board has been doing an outstanding job at the local and county levels for many years and the state should and will take advantage of the board's vast expertise," Hickman said.
The board's next business meeting is scheduled for May 19 in Sacramento.