California’s state juvenile prison workers score $50,000 bonuses

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The Ventura Youth Correctional Facility near Camarillo is one of several in the state planned for shutdown. Workers are being offered bonuses to stay on the job until the sites close next year.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and six labor unions have struck a deal to give up to $50,000 in bonuses to keep juvenile prison workers on the job, as first reported by CalMatters in March.

Between now and next year, California taxpayers will pay about $54.5 million for the incentive payments, according to estimates by the Department of Finance. 

The contracts represent one of the largest retention bonuses the state has ever offered to employees.

A finance department spokesperson said the agreements estimate that 1,019 direct care and 211 non-direct care employees will meet the criteria for some amount of bonus.

The Division of Juvenile Justice, which is overseen by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, is hoping the payments will help stave off worker shortages that have beset the agency since Newsom announced the division’s dismantling. All of California’s youth prisons are expected to close by June 30, 2023, sending youth offenders to county detention centers. The division is working to place juvenile justice employees in other state jobs inside the department. 



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