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Break the 'Green Wall' and Make New Pay Deal

March 08, 2004

Re "Corcoran Guards Mute in Probe of Inmate Death," March 5: In the case of the Corcoran code of silence -- or the California Correctional Peace Officers Assn. "Green Wall" -- why doesn't the Kings County district attorney take the approach that police take in every other homicide? Everyone associated with the event is arrested and many are charged with the same crime. Thousands of inmates who were just on the scene when a tragedy took place and were at best (or worst) fringe participants are serving life sentences because of the actions of another.

There are some 40 guards refusing to break the code of silence after the tragic death of an inmate. As a starter, they can be charged with dereliction of duty, since the inmate wasn't checked for more than eight hours while the guards sat and collected the highest pay in the worst prison system in the nation.

Bob Driscoll

Woodland Hills

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Re "Guards' Raises Could Be Higher Than Expected," March 4: Talk about adding insult to injury to California's taxpayers! First former Gov. Gray Davis and the Legislature, at the bidding of the all-powerful CCPOA, to which most were indebted, approved a pay package for prison guards destined to drain billions of dollars from an already strained budget. Then the taxpayers got to see just what they got for their money when state Senate hearings were conducted in January: charges of intimidation, misconduct and a code of silence so ingrained within the Department of Corrections that we may never know the full scope of abuses that occur within the prison walls.

Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) is correct in saying that "the buck stops with the legislative vote." Now, having identified who is to blame, I can only hope that the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will force the CCPOA to renegotiate the labor contract to a more realistic level or, at the very least, demand from the Department of Corrections the same excellence as its salaries.

Sandra Austin

Los Angeles

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