Alabama prison guard staffing shortage concern

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April 29 2021 07:00 pm

MONTGOMERY, Ala (WIAT) — In Governor Kay Ivey’s recent budget proposal, she is asking lawmakers for $40 million to hire 500 additional correctional officers. 

CBS 42 spoke with the Department of Corrections about why the additional officers are needed. 

“The violence is a daily occurrence, some days are better than most and some days are just out right dangerous,” Travis Ivey said.

Ivey has worked for the DOC for 12 years. He says he feels the affects of the staffing shortage daily. 

“The staff shortage we face makes it even more dangerous, because now I’m only one officer having to watch 204 inmates per dorm,” Ivey said.

In the last 14 months, there have been over a dozen inmates that have committed suicide, the DOC says there is not enough officers to keep an eye on the inmates. 

“Ever suicide is a tragedy for that person and their family. It’s not fun for our staff to see that and have to deal with that,” Matthew Brand said.

Associate commissioner Matthew Brand says the department is asking the legislature to increase the pay for retention. 

“There’s kind of a snowball effect, the shorter staff you get the harder it is for those officers that are working a post, and many of them if they have other opportunities they may leave,” Brent said.

As it relates to those suicides the DOC is currently facing a lawsuit from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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