Tag Archives: staffing

Prison Hardships Rise in Portugal as Crisis Drags On

From the article: “Life inside Portugal’s prisons has become intolerable, just about everybody involved agrees, as budget cuts render them overcrowded, short of necessities and rife with abuse. So it was a surprise to Júlio Rebelo, the president of one of the guards’ unions, just how many prisoners want to stay.”

Authorities blame the overcrowding not just on budget cuts, but also prisoners who, despite being given the chance to leave, decide to stay due to the “three hots and a cot” principle.  However, as is always the case, the budget restrictions and poor conditions affect not just the inmates, but the staff as well.  The president of the prison guard union states that guards have to bring even their own toilet paper to work.

Poor conditions also affect interpersonal interactions:

For inmates, it is not just the overcrowding that makes their lives so miserable. “Guards are now working under the worst conditions that I’ve seen — so I’ve got some sympathy for that,” said Carlos Santos, a former inmate. “The real problem is that when guards are in such a bad state of mind, their response is, unfortunately, to pile on the abuses and violence.”

According to the article, inmates staged a strike in September to protest “beatings by guards, as well as worsening food and sanitary conditions, including having to share cells with inmates with infectious diseases.”

Read more here.

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TX: Union: Prison guard shortage magnified at holiday

From the article: “A union for correctional officers in Texas says understaffing is putting guards at increased risk, especially around the holidays, during what has already been the deadliest year inside state prisons in more than a decade.”

 According to the article, TX corrections officers start at $28K.  After seven years, they still only make approximately $37K.  Of course, overtime can add a lot, but that’s still not much.
Further, inmate violence is on the rise, with ten inmate homicides this year, an increase from three total last year.
Read more here.
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CA: Soledad prison nurses under investigation for alleged wrongdoing

From the article: “Parallel investigations are examining whistleblower accusations involving suspected payroll fraud, diversion of pharmaceutical narcotics and falsification of medical records to cover missing drugs at Soledad’s Correctional Training Facility dating back as far as 2009.”

The accusations focus on Angelia Britt, the Director of Nursing for the state prison system, who allegedly authorized hundreds of hours of unauthorized overtime pay for her friend, a nursing who was reportedly “never at work.”  Five  nursing supervisors signed a vote of “no confidence” against Britt:

Pimentel said time-card fraud at the prison was rampant and the culture among staff poisonous, pitting employees bent on breaking the law against those who wanted to follow the rules.

While he and others reported both the payroll and narcotics irregularities to their superiors, he said, he felt little was done. When he continued to push, a disciplinary action was initiated against him for “being rude” to co-workers, including Britt.

“I didn’t know who to be more afraid of, the inmates or staff,” Pimentel said. “Either you played along with their games or they hated you. I finally cashed out.”

Read more here.

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OH: Violent incidents getting worse at MANCI

This is the same institution where there was a recent death of an inmate.  According to the article, the inmate was stabbed 22 times.  The victim’s cellmate has already confessed to the death (unsurprising, since it happened after lockdown and they were the only two in there).  The officers’ union says that violent incidents have gone up at the institution and that they are understaffed; the Ohio prison system spokesperson says that violence has gone down at the institution since 2011.  Hmmm….read the article here and you be the judge.

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NH: Prison audits find disparity in services for female inmates

NH audits have found that the female prisons have fewer staff, negatively impacting the services and programs that are available to female inmates.  The audits also noted that reduced staffing in sex offender programs have resulted in some inmates being held in prison past their parole date, presumably due to legal requirements that sex offenders complete programming prior to release.  Auditors also suggested that the prison system utilize part-time employees rather than costly overtime.  In response, the prison system said that they have tried to make some of these changes, but that they were defeated by the union.

Read the article here.

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OH: Evaluation of New Officer Training

Every state corrections department has a new officer training.  The potential positive impact of the training can be immense, as inexperienced officers are generally placed on second shift, which also tends to be the shift on which the most serious incidents occur.  In this day of staffing reductions, corrections departments generally do not have a surplus of staff to ensure lengthy supervised probationary periods.  Rather, new staff generally are given a post and are expected to be able to work the block with just the new officer training to prepare them.

Despite the importance and prevalence of new officer training, there is very little systemic research on the topic…until now.  Ohio’s Correctional Institution Inspection Committee has published a report on new officer training, comparing Ohio to fifteen other states plus the Bureau of Prisons.  You can check it out here.

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Union calls for more prison officers for Wooroloo

According to the article, “the Inspector of Custodial Services Neil Morgan yesterday released a report on the prison which found the facility operated well but too many prisoners were under-employed.”  A union representative links the lack of training opportunities for inmates back to inadequate staffing at the facility and makes a plea for the government to provide more funding for the facility.

Read more here.

Union calls for more prison officers for Wooroloo

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Prison staff disparity raises flags

According to the Correctional Association of New York, the disparity in the racial demographics of the inmate population and prison staff leads to tension.

From the article: “This disparity contributes to racial tension at prisons, according to the Correctional Association. “Urban blacks and urban Latinos are being supervised by white, rural individuals who’ve had very little or almost no experience with people of color,” said Jack Beck, director of the association’s Prison Visiting project, which documents prison conditions across the state. “Their sense of those races is almost entirely defined by the incarcerated population.”

Read more here.
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Prison population soaring on stiffer punishment, straining city budget

From the article: “PHILADELPHIA spends more on prisons – $231 million last fiscal year – than it does on libraries, parks, Council, the District Attorney’s Office, the Board of Ethics and Licenses & Inspections. Combined.”

“It seemed as if that was changing last year. The prison population had finally dropped below 7,700 inmates – after quadrupling from 1980 to 2008 – because of reforms to the city’s criminal-justice system. That helped save the city more than $7 million in overtime costs, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.”

Read more here.

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Prison officers ordered back to work after snap strike

According to this article, Australian prison officers went on strike to protest proposed budget reductions.  I am not certain how this works.  Do they simply lock down the inmates in their cells?  I assume (or hope!) a skeleton crew of staff remain to feed the inmates, respond to medical emergencies, etc.

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