Ca. Prison Takeover Threatened By Judge

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Criticizing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration for a “business as usual” attitude toward reforming California’s $6-billion prison system, a federal judge warned that he may name a receiver to take over the state Department of Corrections, reports the Los Angeles Times. Experts said placing day-to-day operation of an entire correctional system under an outsider may be unprecedented. U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson requested a meeting with the governor and expressed “disappointment and concern” over the state’s “noncompliance” with some of his orders.

The San Francisco-based judge said he is disturbed by a renegotiated labor pact between the state and the prison guards union. The agreement last month deferred raises for corrections officers but granted the union new powers, protections, and benefits worth millions. The judge said the pact grants the union too much control over prison management and he suggested that Schwarzenegger was not serious about fixing the “systemic problems” in corrections “condoned for many years by the highest level of California officials.” An aide says Schwarzenneger would be glad to meet with Henderson.


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