Mohammad Safi appears to have found the American dream. In 2006, Safi graduated from a medical school in Afghanistan. He then came to the United States and began working as a psychiatrist at a California mental hospital. By 2010, he made $822,302. As California struggles with this economic crisis and shuts down needed social programs, the state is still paying absurd annual salaries like Safi’s. His windfall is due entirely to the failure of the correctional department to meet minimal standards of care for prisoners. The state waited to be ordered to meet mental health standards before having to go into a bidding process to quickly secure such doctors. This set off an instant wage war with the mental health department, which had to bid higher for its doctors. The result? Some 16 California psychiatrists, including Safi, made more than $400,000
In comparison, a review of the 11 other most populous states had only one doctor with this level of compensation. Indeed, Safi’s compensation was almost five times as much as Governor Jerry Brown’s last year.
What is also striking is that Safi was paid for an average of almost 17 hours each day including Saturdays and Sundays.
Once again, there is little attention to the failure of the Department of Corrections that led to the court order triggering this wage race. Had the Department met basic standards rather than litigate the question, a gradual process could have resulted in recruitment at a lower cost.
Notably, the average salary from 2005 to 2008 for California’s government-employed psychiatrists rose 58 percent to $251,060. In 2006, when he worked half a year, Safi earned $90,682. In 2008, he worked a full year of state employment for $236,108.
Last year, Safi held a fixed salary of $273,950, but earned $548,352 in extra-duty pay from 3,990 additional hours at the prison mental-health facility in Soledad prison.
He is not alone. Husband-and-wife psychiatrists Joginder Singh and Mohinder Kaur earned a total of $4.7 million from 2005 through 2011
It is common for politicians to wait for courts to order reforms to avoid blame for added costs — even though those costs are higher due to the delay and the need to meet court ordered standards. This is an example of the complexity of the cause-and-effect of such constitutional violations. While people may be upset about the salaries, it is hard to get the public to understand that these absurd salaries were triggered by their own state officials violating minimal constitutional standard for confinement.
27 thoughts on “California Prison Violations Trigger Wage War Leading To $822,000 Salary For Prison Doctor”
“Prison has bean velly velly good to Mohammad”
1. Is that a right to work state?
2. What did the University system, state run, expend on football and what did they spend on medical doctors graduating per year and how many graduate per year?
Some years ago I had a connection who was trying to recruit me to work in Iraq training police officers there. The pay was in excess of $180,000 a year. I wanted to but my wife understandably didn’t want me to go. I thought three years of it and we would have a good nest egg, not having to be concerned about money hopefully again. I’d put up with a lot just to not have that worry on my shoulders.
Does it count if you are a wanna be counselor….. There are many people with many issues that try and get them resolved in some storage places….
They need more and better psychiatrists in the California prisons, and they need to work longer hours. And the judges in Los Angeles need to go to prison and be their patients. They are both criminal and insane.
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