You may have seen the Department of Corrections pop up in the news these past few days, we certainly did. The Denver Post has published two stories detailing some questionable practices by the department.
The first story concerned a $280,000 settlement with a whistle-blower at DOC headquarters. These payouts can be disheartening to officers as they see money going out that could have been spent on making facilities safer. Even more concerning are the allegations against DOC. The former director of DOC’s Office of Planning and Analysis alleged the department was falsifying figures about the number of mentally ill people in solitary confinement and the number of inmates released from solitary directly back into their communities. She also alleged that DOC simply renamed programs they are trying to phase out in order for their numbers to match their reports.
Today Colorado WINS is posting the complete results of the survey we conducted of Parole Officers in March. You can read the report below.
It is an an eye-opening read as it presents the unedited opinions of Parole Officers on a range of topics, including compensation, retention and treatment at work.
That’s not work we can do by ourselves – it will require us working in good faith through Partnership with the Division of Parole and the Department of Corrections. We also need to make sure that our membership remains strong to show our unity in tackling these issues.
This report is not the end of a process, but rather the beginning. We have a lot of work ahead of us but I am confident that working through Partnership with DOC we can arrive at solutions that address your issues, improve the Division and ensure public safety.
Last year, due to the hard work of our Corrections Members, the legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 210, which put an end to the 28-day work period and improved overtime pay for Corrections Officers (COs). This year, the Dept. of Corrections changed their interpretation of when overtime payment is due to COs.
DOC will now pay overtime after 8.5 hours, if you work 12 or more consecutive hours in one shift. Previously, DOC was paying overtime on hours worked in excess of 12 in a 24-hour period, when those hours accrued during non-consecutive shifts.
Despite this change, COs will still receive close to $2 million in overtime pay this fiscal year. That is $2 million worth of work they were not being paid for a year ago.
Here are the other details you need to know about SB 210 and your overtime rights in DOC.
The leadership of the Joint Budget Committee took issue today with Republican calls to change the way the state conducts its salary surveys, specifically salaries in the Department of Corrections.
Prompted by a July 19 letter signed by the entire Senate Republican caucus accusing the Department of Personnel and Administration of ignoring law and best practice when conducting salary surveys of the state prison system, the JBC members sent a letter today to DPA Executive Director Kathy Nesbitt, backing the state’s salary survey process.
Sign your name to the Open Letter to Senate Republicans who want you to take a pay cut. Let them know that a career in corrections should not be treated like a minimum wage job.
Last Friday, Colorado Senate Republicans sent a letter to DPA proposing to cut 4000 Colorado correctional officer salaries by 1/3 (approx $17K), reducing them to the level of 500 for-profit prison guards.
The Executive Board of Colorado WINS responded to the Republican caucus, defining their position on the issues brought forth, such as transparency and compensation.
Read the original letter here or the transcript below.
If you’re a corrections officer and would like to tell your senators that you deserve a raise, not a pay cut, add your name to the Open Letter to Senate Republicans.
In a letter to DPA Director Kathy Nesbitt from Friday, July 19, Colorado Senate Republicans took issue with the most recent salary survey, claiming that it was not properly conducted.
As an example, the 15 undersigned Senators propose that Colorado’s 4000 Corrections Officers should be paid approximately 33% less than their current average pay to match the average salary of for-profit prison employees.
Click here to read the original letter or read the transcript below.
Let us know what you think in the comments or sign your name to the Open Letter, asking Senate Republicans to withdraw their letter.
Colorado WINS member and DOC employee Larry VanGelder’s guest editorial in The Pueblo Chieftain talks about the effects of Senate Bill 210 on the state’s Corrections Officers.
If you’re an employee in the Dept. of Corrections make sure to tell us how you think SB 210 will affect morale at your facility. Visit ColoradoWINS.org/sb210 and take the short, 2-minute survey.
After years of frustration, the Colorado legislature has finally done right by our corrections officers and fixed what’s known as the “28-day work period” by passing SB210. […]
SB210 improves overtime pay for officers working double shifts. Once an officer works the 12th hour, anything over 8.5 hours is compensated at time-and-a-half regardless whether or not you hit the 85-hour threshold. For example, if you work 13 consecutive hours, you would receive 4.5 hours of overtime. This is a huge relief to those of us who repeatedly work overtime and don’t see it reflected on our timecards or in our paychecks. […]
SB210 didn’t just happen. Our union, Colorado WINS, and our corrections officers made this happen.
After the bill was introduced, corrections officers from Pueblo, Canon City and Las Animas drove to Denver twice to testify in support of SB210. Personal testimony to the legislators about the unfairness of the 28-day work period made all the difference.
In the coming weeks and months, Colorado WINS will be at the table making sure that DOC gets the implementation of these changes right. I plan on taking the future into my own hands by talking to my co-workers, being an active part of my union and being an active part of those discussions.