Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pennsylvania inmates to be paid even if guards aren't!

As state after state tries to balance their budgets, cuts are coming that will spell trouble in their futures.

What's happening in Pennsylvania - prisoners being paid, but guards getting stiffed - could happen in California and other states very easily.

This poses a great big fat question: what happens if the guards walk off the job when they aren't paid? Can't happen you say? Are you sure about that?

All I know is this could cause some real problems down the line. One of my sons is a correctional officer in California, and he's had to take furlough days off with no pay for several months now, and he's already experienced a state pay cut of 5% during California's fiscal crisis. More pay cuts are on the way unless California politicians gets their act together soon.

 What the hell is it going to take to get these idiots to pass a budget?

From The Chicago Tribune...

By John L. Micek | CALL HARRISBURG BUREAU

Tens of thousands of Pennsylvania prison inmates still will be paid for the jobs they do at state correctional institutions, even as the people who guard them and see to their welfare run the risk of going unpaid in the event of a budget impasse this summer.
Concerns about public safety helped drive the decision to continue paying the 31,175 inmates who do everything from serve meals to sweep cellblocks at the state's 27 correctional institutions, spokespeople for Gov. Ed Rendell and the state Corrections Department said.
The inmates are paid 19 cents to 42 cents an hour for their labors. Inmates use the money to buy, among other things, medication, toiletries and snacks at prison commissaries, said Bill DiMascio of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, a
Philadelphia group that advocates on behalf of prisoners.
With a capacity for 43,000 inmates, the state prison population now numbers 50,568 and ''we believe that depriving prisoners of cigarettes would merely increase tension in already overcrowded prisons,'' Rendell administration spokesman Chuck Ardo said.

Corrections Department spokeswoman Susan McNaughton said the inmates work in key maintenance roles, so ''having them continue their work and paying them is important to the operation of our state prison system.''
The issue has caught the attention of some state lawmakers and angered the head of the state's prison guards union, who says that if corrections officers and scores of other state employees have to go without paychecks this summer, then inmates should as well.
''In the event of a budget impasse, people need to know that inmates will be paid more than corrections officers,'' said Donald G. McNany, president of the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association, which represents 10,600 guards statewide.

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