Costly Prison Guard Training

Guard Training (CDCR)

Cash-strapped California has run into a new cost for training prison guards.  A state appeals court says new cadets may only receive basic training in either the state’s training academies at Galt or Stockton where the cadets are paid state workers.  Since 2006 the state had augmented its cadet corps by hiring new guards trained at three community colleges before they were on the state payroll.  And the candidates paid their own way.  The prison guards’ union sued arguing state law requires the training to be at one of the two state-run training camps.

The Third District Court of Appeal agreed on Friday.  The legislative history shows the Legislature, and not the California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, has the authority to determine where training academies are located.  The court concluded that the law “authorizes CDCR to conduct training at Galt or Stockton, and nowhere else.”

This may be a costly limitation.  The pilot project in 2006 provided training at Fresno City College, Napa Valley College and Santa Rosa Junior College for students who paid their own way and were not employed by the state.   CDCR hired 52 graduates who completed basic training in these programs.  An additional training program at High Desert State Prison in Susanville provided 75 more cadets who were eventually hired.

By contrast, the state hired cadets prior to their training at Galt and Stockton academies, providing pay and free dorm housing for them until they completed classes.  The appellate decision will limit the state to only this more costly option.

California currently spends $10.6 billion yearly for 33 prisons with 163,000 inmates and a staff of 63,000, according to CDCR data.

Case:   California Correctional Peace Officers Association v. Tilton, C063991 (Third Dist. Ct. of Appeal)

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