Salaries Raised for Prison Mental Health Workers
A court order in December 2006 that raised the salaries of mental health workers in California state prisons has caused staff shortages at state mental hospitals, which now pay 40% less, the Los Angeles Times reports.
All of the state's mental hospitals have reported staff vacancies as workers leave to fill prison openings. In one case, the shortage has prompted Atascadero State Hospital in Los Angeles to freeze admission to most new patients (Romney, Los Angeles Times, 1/26).
The court ruling followed a recommendation by Michael Keating, a court-appointed receiver, in a case that charged the state with failing to provide sufficient care to inmates with mental illnesses (California Healthline, 12/21/06).
A report released Thursday by the Little Hoover Commission informed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and lawmakers to reform the state's overcrowded prison system or lose control of the system to an appointed commission that will adopt its own sentencing reforms, the Los Angeles Times reports (Warren, Los Angeles Times, 1/26).
Schwarzenegger is opposed to an independent sentencing commission, according to a spokesperson. The governor has proposed a 17-member sentencing commission that would advise policymakers on changes to sentencing and parole policies, according to the Chronicle. (Martin, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/26).