Last week, Sen. Steve Bradford (D-Inglewood), vice-chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) joined his colleague, Sen. Dave Cortese (D-Los Gatos), on an online panel with social justice advocates to denounce the wage increase the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (CDCR) recently instituted.
In a notice of change of regulations dated Oct. 6, the CDCR announced that it is increasing the minimum wage from eight cents an hour to 16 cents per hour for some 39,000 state prison inmates who perform clerical tasks or work in construction, engineering, manufacturing.
Inmates who are firefighters for the state will see their hourly pay rates increase from an amount between $2.90 and $5.13 per hour to one in the range of $5.80 to $10.24.
Bradford said the amount of money prisoners make doing tasks they are forced to perform is not enough for them to support their families, save for re-entry into society or pay restitution they owe to the victims of their crimes.
“Dignity is in work, but respect is in pay and wages,” said Bradford.
“It is totally unacceptable,” Bradford added. We are not asking for a livable age. We are asking for a respectable wage.”
Jeronimo Aguilar from Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Tatiana Turner from Caravan 4 Justice and Katherine Paseman from One Fair Wage also participated in the panel that was hosted by TaSin Sabir, also from Legal Services for Prisoners With Children.