December 28, 2018 06:36 PM
Minnesota corrections officers tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they are being forced to pick up more overtime than normal because facilities are short-staffed.
This comes at the end of a violent year of attacks in prisons around the state, including the deaths of two corrections officers.
Inside the walls of the Stillwater Correctional Facility, officers describe a prison with low staffing and even lower morale.
One officer, who declined to go on camera over fears of retribution, went on to say that with overtime they, “have to deal with offenders for 16-hours straight… and it takes a toll when it’s once a week.”
This source said a coworker at Stillwater has been forced to work an extra shift each week for now 14 weeks straight.
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Sarah Fitzgerald, the Department of Corrections spokesperson, said they can not share staffing numbers due to security and safety concerns, but this summer the department said it needed more than 150 additional officers.
Fitzgerald went on to say that forced overtime is sometimes necessary to fill shifts, and added that many appreciate and welcome the opportunity to pick up additional shifts.
The union contract with DOC allows officers to pick up overtime shifts once every five days.
This summer union representatives sounded the alarm over staffing concerns, as tensions continued to build between officers and inmates.
On Thursday, four officers suffered injuries after an inmate attack at the facility in St. Cloud.
In in the initial weeks of the next legislative session, Rep. Jack Considine plans to present a solution.
“My bill, which will be named after Officer Gomm, is to increase the staffing levels in the prison. I believe this is necessary to protect the inmates and the staff from the violence,” he said.
Considine’s bill would call for 324 additional positions to be funded. The funding would be spread out over four years.
Updated: December 28, 2018 06:36 PM
Created: December 28, 2018 05:17 PM
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