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Corrections Officers Wanted: Worker shortage hits Minnesota’s Prisons

Worker shortage hits Minnesota's Prisons
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 11:57 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) -- With hundreds of open positions, corrections officers working in Minnesota’s prisons are putting in long hours.

According to officials, it’s starting to take its toll on their workforce.

“We end up having much higher levels of overtime and in some cases overtime requirements, which is hard on workers hard on their families,” said Paul Schnell, MN Department of Corrections Commissioner.

At some prisons, overtime can be assigned last minute and result in double shifts.

Officials are worried about filling vacant positions and also holding on to current staff.

“The big worry is that people are burning out and current staff are going to start leaving because they just can’t handle it anymore,” said State Senator Jason Rarick.

For facilities located in more rural areas, the fight for workers can be even harder.

“And for Moose Lake especially because it’s a little more rural, they’ve had a little bit harder time finding people for there,” said Rarick.

Senator Rarick represents the Moose Lake and Willow River area at the state capitol.

He recognizes what a problem it’s becoming with those two facilities plus the one in Togo looking to fill 40 positions right now.

According to the Department of Corrections, properly staffing their prisons now is vital to keep Minnesotans safer in the future.

“We have these positions funded for a reason. So we need to get them filled, and we need to deliver the services that ultimately improve outcomes and make our state safer,” said Schnell.

To incentivize applicants, Minnesota’s Department of Corrections is offering a $5,000 bonus to those hired as new corrections officers.

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