For Immediate Release from the AFSCME union for The Backgate Website
TDCJ continues to remain dangerously understaffed, despite the agency offering a $3,000 bonus for newly hired officers willing to work at some of the most short-staffed prisons in the state. The problem will only get worse because of increased oil fracking and drilling in areas where TDCJ has many of its units, explained Lance Lowry, President of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Correctional Employees Council 7, Local 3807, headquartered in Huntsville.
“New geological data indicates the Eagleford Shale and Woodbind Shale run through the heart of the Texas prison system, between Huntsville and Palestine,” Lowry said. “There are 18 prison units in that area alone, and that area is expected to see a substantial increase in oil fracking and drilling.
“TDCJ correctional officers are among the lowest paid correctional staff in the nation,” he continued. “Many COs see the earning potential in the oil industry and are going there. When it comes to correctional officer pay, the grass is definitely greener outside the prison system – and the grass within the prison walls is rapidly dying.”