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Bill Providing Financial Support For Workers Injured By Inmates, Detainees Up For Assembly Approval

Measure was co-sponsored by state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen

A bill guaranteeing financial support for workers who are attacked while supervising inmates or detainees awaits final approval before the state General Assembly.

The bill, A-3422, is co-sponsored by Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17).

Under the legislation, a compensation program would be established that would allow state corrections officers, juvenile corrections officers, juvenile detention officers, parole officers and probation officers who suffer bodily injury as the result of an attack by inmates, detainees or other persons under their supervision to continue to receive full wages until they begin receiving workers’ compensation payments, according to a press release from the Assembly Democrats.

In addition to workers’ compensation, the injured employee also would receive regular supplemental payments from his or her employer in an amount that, when combined with workers’ compensation, equals his or her net wage at the time of the injury, according to the release. The bill will also apply to civilian employees who work directly with inmates or detainees, and to probation officers who suffer bodily injury as the result of an assault committed by an inmate, detainee, or person on probation while engaged in official duties.

The bill would also cover state Human Services police officers, conservation officers and park police officers who suffer bodily injury as the result of an assault while engaged in the arrest or transportation of a suspect or person in their custody and civilian employees who work directly with inmates or detainees and suffer bodily injury due to an attack while performing their official duties, according to the release.

“People whose jobs require them to be in harm’s way need to know that they’ll be taken care of if they’re assaulted while at work,”  Danielsen said in the release. “The work these men and women do is essential to maintaining order and public safety in our state, and it’s important that they know there’s a support system available to them.”

Under current law, a corrections officer or juvenile detention officer who is seriously injured after a prison riot or inmate attack and cannot work does not receive any salary while waiting for workers’ compensation to take effect, which can take several months, according to the release.

A recent rise in attacks on corrections officers highlights the need to address this gap in state statute, Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson said in the release.

“These officers assume a significant deal of risk every day on the job, yet they’re excluded from provisions that make compensation available to other public safety officers,” he said. “This legislation is about taking action to eliminate that inconsistency so that people who put their lives on the line aren’t left helpless in the event of an attack.”

The bill was previously approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

 

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