Wisconsin prisons struggle with staffing shortage

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Almost a quarter of the jobs within the state Department of Corrections are unfilled. Wisconsin Public Radio reports about 1,100 jobs remain open and maximum-security facilities in Portage and Waupun are operating with only half their staffs. Corrections officials are now sending almost two dozen officers from other facilities each pay period to that prison.

Corrections Secretary Kevin Carr says low pay and fears of COVID-19 are keeping people from applying for positions.

Legislators approved raising guards’ pay from $16.65 an hour to $19.03 per hour in the last state budget. They’re also considering a bill that would raise minimum wages by 50 cents an hour on top of an annual 2% raise.