By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Monday designed to make it easier for laid-off employees of public community correctional facilities -- of which there are several in Kern County -- to get rehired.
The legislation had been carried by state Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Shafter.
Senate Bill 1351 ensures the workers are granted sworn peace officer status, which makes them eligible to be rehired as CCFs contract with counties to hold inmates, according to a news release from Rubio's office.
It said that helps more than 200 employees laid off at four area CCFs that recently closed -- in Delano, Shafter, Taft and Coalinga -- when the state shifted responsibility for incarceration of some inmates to counties. The state canceled the contracts they'd had with the CCFs to hold state prisoners.
Now, operators of the CCFs hope to contract directly with counties to hold the inmates that have gone from state to county oversight. Counties expect CCF guards to have sworn peace officer status, which they had when the CCFs contracted with the state, Rubio's office said.
The four communities Rubio mentioned as benefitting have unemployment rates ranging from 13.3 percent to 33.6 percent, the news release said.
The bill takes effect immediately.
"I am grateful that Governor Brown has signed this important jobs bill that will give local CCFs a critical tool to contract directly with counties -- and create over 200 jobs in areas where unemployment rates far exceed the state average," Rubio said in the release.