WI Pays Prison Workers $36 Million Overtime; Some “Very Tired”


Driven partly by gaps in staffing and a jump in inmate hospital visits, overtime pay in Wisconsin's prison system ballooned to about $36 million last year, reports Gannett Wisconsin Media. Corrections workers logged nearly 1.3 million hours of overtime between July 2014 and June 2015, about 85,000 more than the previous fiscal year and 396,000 more than in 2009-2010. Officials attribute much of last year's growth to employees covering more shifts for unfilled jobs and accompanying more inmates during hospital visits.

“We're concerned about it,” said state Sen. Rob Cowles. “At what point does it become dangerous?” “It's a huge concern,” said state Sen. Jon Erpenbach. “You have officers who are working very hard and are very tired.” Overtime isn't always financially unwise, saving on long-term bills like retirement and healthcare costs for additional workers, but state corrections officials said they want to ease how much officers have been working extra hours.

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