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AB-94 Correctional officers.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 04/15/2021 09:00 PM
AB94:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 15, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 18, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 94


Introduced by Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer

December 07, 2020


An act to add Section 13601.5 to the Penal Code, relating to correctional officers.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 94, as amended, Jones-Sawyer. Correctional officers.
Existing law establishes the Commission on Correctional Peace Officer Standards and Training (CPOST) within the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and requires the CPOST to develop, approve, and monitor standards for the selection and training of state correctional officers. Existing law requires each applicant for the position of correctional officer with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to undergo a mental health evaluation, prior to beginning employment, to ensure they do not have an emotional or mental condition that might adversely affect their exercise of the duties and powers in the position.
This bill would require a correctional officer employed by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to undergo a confidential mental health evaluation every calendar year to determine whether the individual has an emotional or mental condition that might adversely affect their exercise of the duties and powers of a correctional officer. The bill would specify the training and experience required for those conducting the evaluations. If a mental health evaluator determines that the individual has a condition that might adversely affect their exercise of the duties and powers of a correctional officer, the bill would require the evaluation to be provided to the individual’s supervisor and included in the individual’s personnel file. The bill would prohibit an individual from performing duties as a correctional officer that involve the direct supervision of inmates while they have a condition that might adversely affect their exercise of the duties and powers of a correctional officer. The bill would prohibit these mental health evaluations from being used for disciplinary purposes. The bill would require the department to refer an individual with an emotional or mental condition that might adversely affect the individual’s exercise of the duties and powers of a correctional officer to resources and provide an opportunity for the individual to address that condition. evaluator to notify the correctional officer of that determination. The bill would prohibit the evaluation from being shared with the department and would prohibit the discipline of a correctional officer for being evaluated or for accessing mental health or other resources as a result of that evaluation.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 13601.5 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

13601.5.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The emotional and mental well-being of correctional officers is critical to maintaining a safe environment for staff and inmates in the facilities of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
(2) Correctional officers are exposed to violence at rates roughly comparable to military veterans.
(3) Correctional officers have a high incidence of serious stress-related illnesses compared to average Americans.
(4) One in three correctional officers have experienced at least one symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder.
(5) Ten percent of correctional officers have experienced suicide ideation.
(6) Mental Unidentified and untreated mental health issues have serious negative impacts on correctional officers and their families and the dynamics of a correction environment, and affect their ability to carry out their duties in a safe and appropriate manner.
(7) Correctional officers’ mental health needs are often overlooked until a response is necessitated by negative behavior or a significant event.
(8) Correctional officers are currently required to have a mental health evaluation prior to employment with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
(9) Routine observation engagement and evaluation can improve early detection or even prevent serious mental health issues.
(b) Notwithstanding any other law, a correctional officer for the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 830.5, shall have a mental health evaluation once every calendar year. A correctional officer who has had an evaluation pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 13601 within the calendar year has satisfied this subdivision. Yearly mental health evaluations conducted pursuant to this subdivision shall be separated by at least six months.
(1) Mental health evaluations shall be conducted through the Department of Human Resources by either of the following:
(A) A physician and surgeon licensed by the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California who has successfully completed a postgraduate medical residency education program in psychiatry accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and has at least the equivalent of five full-time years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of emotional and mental disorders, including the equivalent of three full-time years accrued after completion of the psychiatric residency program.
(B) A psychologist licensed by the Board of Psychology who has at least the equivalent of five full-time years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of emotional and mental disorders, including the equivalent of three full-time years accrued after receipt of their doctorate degree.
(2) The mental health evaluation shall include a determination of whether the individual has an emotional or mental health condition that might adversely affect their exercise of the duties and powers of a correctional officer employed by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The evaluator shall share this information with the correctional officer.
(3) A mental health evaluation shall be confidential, unless the mental health evaluator, as described in paragraph (1), determines that the individual has an emotional or mental health condition that might adversely affect their exercise of the duties and powers of a correctional officer. confidential between the evaluator and the correctional officer. The evaluation shall not be shared with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

(4)If a mental health evaluator, as described in paragraph (1), determines that the individual has an emotional or mental health condition that might adversely affect their exercise of the duties and powers of a correctional officer, the mental health evaluation shall be provided to the individual’s supervisor and included in the individual’s personnel file.

(5)If the mental health evaluator, as described in paragraph (1), finds an emotional or mental health condition, whether or not it might adversely affect an individual’s exercise of the duties and powers of a correctional officer, the mental health evaluator shall provide the individual information on mental health resources or other resources that the individual can voluntarily access.

(c)An individual determined to have an emotional or mental health condition that might adversely affect their exercise of the duties and powers of a correctional officer shall be prohibited from performing duties as a correctional officer that involve direct supervision of inmates. That individual shall not be permitted to resume duties that involve direct supervision of inmates until a mental health evaluator, as described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b), verifies that the individual does not have an emotional or mental health condition that might adversely affect their exercise of the duties and powers of a correctional officer. That verification shall be provided to the individual’s supervisor and included in the individual’s personnel file.

(d)A determination that a correctional officer has an emotional or mental health condition that might adversely affect their exercise of the duties and powers of a correctional officer shall not be used for disciplinary purposes. Removal of the officer from duties that constitute direct supervision of inmates pursuant to this section does not constitute discipline.

(e)If a mental health evaluator, as described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b), determines that an individual has an emotional or mental health condition that might adversely affect their exercise of the duties and powers of a correctional officer, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shall refer the individual to resources and provide an opportunity for the individual to address the emotional or mental health condition.

(4) The mental health evaluator shall provide the individual with information on mental health or other resources that the individual may voluntarily access.
(c) A correctional officer shall not be disciplined for being evaluated pursuant to subdivision (b) or for accessing mental health or other resources as a result of that evaluation.