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The DNT Reports: Minnesota Prisons Log Record Overtime

The DNT reports that as of Sept. 17, the the Minnesota Department of Corrections had 113 officer vacancies, leading to record overtime. They are in the process of training 55 more to fill the void. The DNT reports that as of Sept. 17, the the Minnesota Department of Corrections had 113 officer vacancies, leading to record overtime. They are in the process of training 55 more to fill the void. |  Photo: WDIO/MGN

Created: October 20, 2019 09:31 AM

According to the Duluth News Tribune, Minnesota prisons ramped up their use of overtime after two officers died in the line of duty last year. They say that the officers' deaths shed light on the dangers of understaffed facilities following the department's most violent year ever, in which inmates assaulted officers at record rates. Due to staffing shortages, however, the DNT says that Minnesota prisons are asking workers to pull double shifts, leading to burnout among staff.

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The DNT quoted State Corrections Commissioner, Paul Schnell who said: "We encouraged a significant amount of overtime as a result of that. Everything that happens (in prison) requires security personnel, and that has been the place where we've had the biggest challenges.

According to the DNT, the Minnesota Department of Corrections paid nearly $12.3 million for more than 262,000 hours of overtime in fiscal year, 2019. They point out that this is a noticeable rise from the $6.9 million it spent for roughly 150,000 hours the year before.

The DNT reports that about 80% of the overtime hours and pay last fiscal year went to the 2,000 corrections officers who guard the state's 10 prisons. As of Sept. 17, the the Minnesota Department of Corrections had 113 officer vacancies.

The Minnesota Department of Corrections has made some progress, the DNT says. They have 55 trainees expected to fill corrections officer posts in the near future. That could put the them within 58 vacancies of being fully staffed if no other officers leave the department.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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