Image of front page of the May 1973 issue of the tabloid-size newsletter COBA News.

The photo and texts on this web page -- relating to (1) capital punishment for inmates who kill correction officers and (2) COBA achieving pay parity with police and firefighters for its members -- were extracted from Page 1 of the May 1973 issue of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association's tabloid-size newsletter COBA News.

In the early summer of 2010, Errol D. Toulon, a Monroe College professor and retired Correction Academy excutive officer, made available to this website a copy of that issue. [See image of Page 1 at right.]

Toulon also had been a first vice president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association.

From that issue copy, the New York Correction History Society webmaster has created this four-page web presentation of extracted images and texts, one web page for each of the issue's four printed pages.

Near the bottom of each of the presentation's four web pages is a descriptive list of links to all its pages.

COBA President Leo C. Zeferetti has urged that a mandatory death sentence be given anyone who is convicted of killing a Correction Officer or any other Correc- tion Department employee trying to perform his duty.

Zeferetti said such a penalty is "essential" because "it will serve as a deterrent to those inmates who otherwise would have nothing to lose by murdering a Correction Officer.” He made his plea before a meeting of the Assembly Codes Committee in Albany.

CORRECTION DAY CEREMONIES AT CITY HALL. Captain William O’Donnelll, C.O. Jerry Evelyn. C.O. Charles Jacob, Captain Roy Caldwood.
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The Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association’s new contract with the city, giving Correction Officers parity with Firemen and Policemen, was termed “momentous” by COBA President Leo C. Zeferetti.

“We’re pleased with the new agreement,” Zeferetti said. “I’m glad the issues were all finally resolved. Settlement was long overdue, but COBA was determined to win fair treatment for its 3,200 members.”

Agreement on the 30-month contract was achieved last December. Negotiations had been snagged on the issue of giving Correction Officers compensatory time off equal to those given policemen.

That issue was resolved in COBA’s favor as was salary parity with policemen and firemen earlier.

The new contract called for benefits retroactive to January 1, 1971 and continues until June 30, 1973.

After the three raises called for in the contract, effective July 1, 1971, April 1, 1972 and January 1, 1973, base pay for CO rose to $14,300, not including longevity increases. Top pay for a CO with 20 years’ service as of January 1 rose to $14,700. The last longevity increase, however, will not be considered a part of salary for retirment purposes unless a retiring CO has completed 25 years.

In addition, the contract calls for: a 10 percent night differential; a $200 annual uniform allowance; a $261 annual per capita contribution towards the annuity fund; full payment by the city for health and hospital insurance; an annual per capita contribution for the security benefits fund of $220 for 1971 and $250 for the last 18 months of the pact; and excused time off accorded to all other city employes for special occurrences like Kennedy funeral with the option for cash payment in lieu of time off.

18 Extra Days Off

COBA President Zeferetti noted that his members had been working an extra half-hour each day without compensatory time off previous to the new pact. He said that in the agreement, productivity measures suggested by COBA would “set up new procedures within the Correction Department to better utilize that half hour” establishing a new duty chart with overlapping hours.

As a result of the more efficient work schedule, COs will get an average of 18 extra days off a year. For inmates at correctional institutions the new duty chart will mean added time for visits on a seven-day, instead of five-day, basis and increased recreation and “lockout” time.

Here’s part of what he said:

"It is well to remember that Correction Officers are unarmed when they are on the job: no gun, no nightstick, no weapon of any sort.

"We bring to the job nothing more than our mouth, hands, eyes, pen and pencil, and whistle.

"As a result, we are virtually sitting ducks for any group of inmates that wants to overpower us, and, God forbid, kill us.

"Each officer supervises from any number up to 200 inmates.

"He freely mingles among them and exercises control only through leadership and persuasion.

"He has no guarantee that his efforts will always meet with success.

"If he fails, he is no match for inmates who are intent on taking him captive.

"The most recent examples are the riots at the Tombs and the other city institutions, and at Attica.

"Inmates overpowered the officers, took hostages, and assumed control of the prisons.

"Fortunately, no one was killed in here in the city prisons. Our up-state officers were not so fortunate.

"In today's climate of hostility and militancy, aggravated by serious problems of overcrowding, a riot can break out in our institutions at any time.

"If one occurs, it is more than likely that hostages will be taken. And if hostages are taken, the murder of a Correction Officer or other correction employees becomes a real and frightening possibility. . . . .

An inmate, knowing that if he kills an offcier he faces death, is less likely to commit the act.

On the other hand, if the death penalty is . . . proscribed, a long-term prisoner has nothing to lose if he resorts to murder. An additional sentence for the act of murder is no deterrent.

"He will be behind bars in any event for the rest of his life or until he is an old man.The same reasoning is true of a prisoner serving a relatively short term.

"He is less likely to resort to murder if he knows he must sacrifice his own life.

“We are looking for an insurance policy. No one on the face of the earth can write one that is worth anything. But we are looking for a measure of protection that will reduce the risks that are an integral part of our job.

5 days
6 days
3rd Grade
2nd Grade
1st Grade
Longevity Service
5 Years
10 Years
15 Years
20 Years

WEBMASTER NOTES: The newsletter's printed table showed a 15-year veteran C.O. receiving a 6-day Holiday Rate 66 cents fewer than what a 10-year veteran C.O. was shown receiving in that category. That anomaly may have been the result of a typographical error. But that is what the printed newsletter showed and thus is reproduced above. . . .

Correction Officer Charles Jacob, who appears in the flags photo on this page, was COBA's sgt.-at-arms in 1973 (see newsletter staff listing bottom of next page). He also appears in another photo elsewhere on this website. That one relates to 1978 ceremonies recalling the 1975 murder of C.O. George Motchan by an escaping inmate.

Despite having been sentenced to death under the kind of capital punishment law advocated in the article appearing above, the convicted killer has not been executed. As a result of court rulings in the case, the 1974 law mandating a death sentence for the deliberate slaying of a peace officer was invalidated. Motchan's convicted murderer, Joseph James, was removed on Dec. 10, 1977, from death row in Greenhaven State Prison, Dutchess County, the last capital sentence inmate to occupy any of its 13 cells. He remains in prison and periodically comes up for possible parole that so far has been denied him.


This is Page 1 of the New York Correction History Society's web presentation of the image and texts extracted from the May 1973 issue of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association's tabloid-size newsletter COBA News. Links to all 4 pages of the presentation -- each based on its corresponding page in the printed newsletter -- are listed below:

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