The D.C. Department of Corrections, slated for 360 layoffs under Mayor Marion Barry's original budget-cutting plan, has asked the mayor to reduce the layoffs to 190, it was revealed yesterday.
Corrections department Director Delbert Jackson said he had not received a response to the suggestion from the mayor.
Barry said through a spokesman that there have been no change in the original plan to lay off 360 corrections employes.
The Barry administration has come under severe pressure from guards and administrators at the city's correctional facilities since he announced the planned layoffs earlier this month. The plan calls for firing a total of 212 correctional officers, including 50 having direct contact with inmates.
The Corrections plan, which sources said was agreed to last weekend by city budget officials, calls for laying off 134 officers, with no more than 32 of those being involved in direct ongoing contact with inmates.
Guards had complained that they currently are short-staffed, and would be further hamstrung by the layoffs. When Barry released his budget-slashing proposals at the beginning of the month, Jackson said he was not sure he would be left with enough officers to do the job. Last weekend, while talks on the new plan were under way, he called the layoffs intolerable, and added, "It will not be 360 . . . I can and added, "It will not be 360 . . . I can assure you that."
Under the Corrections plan, the reduction in the number of layoffs would be made possible be delaying a $1.5 million payment to the Federal Bureau of Prisons until next fiscal year.
The payment is for the care of 650 District of Columbia prisoners in federal custody. The rationale for delaying the payment, according to sources, was that the federal government habitually is late in billing the city for the service.
Jackson said he talked with the mayor over the weekend and yesterday about ways to reduce the planned layoffs, but added, "I've not yet received anything that changes our position. I hope I'll get it."
He said the plan to delay paying the federal government was "one of the alternatives we were proposing."
Barry's overall plan to balance the budget has drawn fire on all fronts, and has shown signs of cracking under the strain. Department heads, like Jackson, have contended that they cannot comply with suggested budget cuts. There have been indications from Capitol Hill that Barry will not receive for full $61.8 million supplemental federal payment he has requested from Congress.
Yesterday, City Council member John A. Wilson, (D-Ward 2), chairman of the council's committee on finance and revenue, restated his position that he has no plans to take action on a $24 million package of increased and new taxes and user fees proposed by Barry.