SAN FRANCISCO

California Prison Layoffs: Warnings Issued To 2,200 Health Workers

A correctional officer walks through a gymnasium that once held nearly 700 inmate bunks at the Deuel Vocational Institution i
A correctional officer walks through a gymnasium that once held nearly 700 inmate bunks at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, Calif., Friday, March 2, 2012. California prisons marked a milestone Friday when Cate announced they have removed the last of nearly 20,000 extra beds that had been jammed into gymnasium and other common areas to house inmates who overflowed traditional prison cells. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

California's prison health care receiver has issued layoff warnings to 2,200 of its employees with a goal of axing 829 positions early next year.

The cuts will touch nearly 60 job classifications around the state, from doctors to custodians, and affect 38 jobs in Sacramento County. The statewide cuts take effect March 31, 2013.

The state normally issues three layoff warnings for every position it cuts, and workers in danger of losing their jobs can displace less-senior counterparts in state government, so it's not clear how many staff will actually lose work. Officials don't have an estimate of savings from the reductions.

The job cuts set in motion with the layoff notices late last month are the result of prison population attrition brought on by realignment, Liz Gransee, spokeswoman for Correctional Health Care Services, said in an email.

Federal court action launched Correctional Health Care Services several years ago to take charge of the state's inadequate prison medical system.

That mission may be winding down as J. Clark Kelso, the appointed prison receiver, has said control of the prison health system could return to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation next year. State officials have argued that they can provide medical care more efficiently.

The state is taking over operation of a new prison medical facility opening in Stockton, "however, there is no timeline or date for the end of the receivership," Gransee said. "Over the coming several months, additional tasks and program areas will be delegated back to the state to manage, and receiver oversight will continue."

Call Jon Ortiz, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1043. ___

(c)2012 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

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