Monday, June 6, 2011
As TDCJ recruiting slows, overtime usage increases.
TDCJ facilities statewide have posted dwindling numbers of Correctional Officers to staff there prisons, and there seems to be no relief in sight. The Huntsville Correctional Training academy now trains the majority of the recruits themselves, leaving some satellite regional training facilities with little to do. TDCJ states that the Region III training facility located in Rosharon has suspended new recruit training classes and has been focusing exclusively on staff in-service classes for the past few months. That facility once held classes for new recruits numbering 90-120 employees every 6 weeks.
With budget cuts looming for the agency, and employees being laid off due to those spending cuts, the agency has slowed recruiting down to see what happens with the state budget. In the mean time, prison facilities statewide are reporting staffing issues as administrators are having problems keeping their "priority one" duty posts filled and in compliance with agency policy. Overtime usage has started to rise once again and appears to be the only way to fill the voids. Even though the agency seeks to send employees home prior to them accruing overtime hours that would lead to a paycheck, many staff members are now supplementing their incomes by working overtime.
The Backgate has submitted a request for the number of empty Correctional Officer positions statewide, and the amount of overtime usage for the entire state. As that information is made available to us, we will pass it on by updating this story. What is your take on the overtime, staffing situation where you work ? Has staffing created a dangerous work environment ? Do you favor overtime pay for current staff over the hiring of new staff ? Let us know what you think by posting comments below.