“Think it’s hard to fire a bad teacher? Try a bad corrections officer”

“Since 2010, the state [of New York] has sought to fire 30 prison guards accused of abusing inmates through a convoluted arbitration process that is required under the union contract. Officials have prevailed only eight times, according to records of disciplinary cases released under state Freedom of Information Law requests.” [Tom Robbins, The Marshall Project; earlier on difficulty of investigating Attica abuse allegations, and related on correctional officers’ bill of rights laws]


  • Given the misbehavior, unlike teachers, one might think NY, if serious about this, would simply skirt the CBA and criminally prosecute ; problem solved.

    • According to the article, even a misdemeanor assault conviction would not necessarily be grounds for termination! The state really needs to man up and in the next union contract make arbitration decisions reviewable and make non-trivial work-related criminal convictions automatic grounds for termination.

      I also wonder whether prisoners could file civil suits against guards who abuse them and also obtain protective orders, which would prevent the guard from working in the same part of the prison as the prisoner?

      • “I also wonder whether prisoners could file civil suits against guards who abuse them”

        Only if they can get past qualified immunity. Even then, any damages award would likely be paid by the government.

        “and also obtain protective orders”

        Very unlikely.

    • Peter: “if serious about this”

      There’s the problem.

  • The arbitration process is so bad that using it for inmates actually counts as abuse? What happens in these arbitration hearings?