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New Law, Co-Sponsored By Danielsen, Supports COs, Others, When Attacked

Legislation co-sponsored by state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17) that would support workers who are attacked while supervising inmates or detainees is now law.

The measure was also sponsored by Assembly members Daniel R. Benson, Raj Mukherji, Elizabeth Muoio, Jamel Holley, Shavonda Sumter, Joann Downey, Pamela Lampitt, Sheila Oliver, and Benjie Wimberly.

Under previous law, a corrections officer or juvenile detention officer who was seriously injured after a prison inmate attack and could not work would not receive any salary while waiting for workers’ compensation to take effect, which could take several months.

A recent rise in attacks on corrections officers highlighted the need to address this gap in state statute, the sponsors noted.

The new law (A-3422) establishes a compensation program to allow state corrections officers, juvenile corrections officers, juvenile detention officers and probation officers who suffer bodily injury as the direct result of an attack by inmates, detainees or other persons under their supervision to continue to receive full wages for up to six months, or until they begin receiving workers’ compensation payments, whichever comes first.

In addition to workers’ compensation, the injured employee also must 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.
The law also applies 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.

“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, vice-chair of the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee, said in a press release about the law. “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.”

State Human Services police officers, conservation officers and state park police officers who suffer bodily injury as the result of an assault while engaged in the arrest, transportation or supervision of a suspect or person in their custody also are eligible for the compensation program under the new law, as are Palisades Interstate Park officers, campus police officers and medical security officers under the authority of the Department of Human Services.

The measure, which will take effect in October, received unanimous approval from both houses of the legislature before being signed into law.

 

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