As leading lawmakers disagree on whether the state needs to build new prisons, Texas can't fully staff the lockups it has now.Finally! (See also comments at The Back Gate.) Regular readers know I've been harping on this issue for months, both at TDCJ and at local jails which also cannot find enough guards to staff their facilities. Here are a few prior related Grits posts:
Some warn that a chronic shortage of correctional officers poses a danger.
"There's a public safety issue with the shortage," said Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, Senate Criminal Justice Committee chairman and Finance Committee member. "I'm told where you need two (correctional officers), you've got one, and sometimes you have none. It means that the public is at risk of a breakout. It means you endanger corrections officers, and you potentially endanger inmates."
- Who would staff new Texas prisons and jails?
- Some Texas prisons are only 62% staffed
- Prison guards arrested at record pace
- Screwing prison guards out of overtime short sighted
- Senate commitee weighs prisons vs. alternatives
- Dallas will hire jail guards with past drug use
HELP WANTEDPercent of correctional officer positions that are vacant in the four states with the largest number of inmates in state correctional facilities.
• California: 9 percent.
• Texas: 12 percent
• Florida: 4 percent
• New York: Less than 1 percent
Texas prison units with highest correctional officer vacancy rates, as of Feb. 28:
• Dalhart: 37 percent
• Smith: 33 percent
• Coffield: 31 percent
• Beto: 31 percent
• Ferguson: 28 percent
Serious offender-on-staff assaults per 10,000 offenders:
• 2002: 3.7
• 2003: 2.9
• 2004: 3
• 2005: 3.4
• 2006: 4
Serious offender-on-offender assaults per 10,000 offenders:
• 2002: 56.5
• 2003: 64.9
• 2004: 64
• 2005: 65.4
• 2006: 65.5
Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Florida Department of Corrections, New York State Department of Correctional Services