While Oklahoma legislators bicker over the best way to increase staffing for the state corrections department, prisoners are becoming more aggressive and violent episodes are increasing in state prisons, The Oklahoman quotes a veteran corrections officer as reporting. “The offenders realize that we’re understaffed, that everybody’s resources are spread thin and they’re constantly pushing the envelope,” said Lt. William Weldon of the Harp Correctional Center. “The situation is the worst it’s been in my entire career.”
Many corrections officers are suffering mental fatigue by working double shifts. The Democratic-controlled Senate apporpriated $11 millioin in August to raise the pay of prison guards. The Republican-led House has refused to meet. About $28 million is available to spend. Recent stabbings at the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite and last month’s escape of a convicted murdered and serial rapists illustrate the need to increase the number of guards, said House Democratic leader Jari Askins.