Colo. understaffed prisons creating dangerous conditions for COs

Understaffing is putting Colo. COs at risk and creating opportunities for prisoners to attack

By Corrections1 Staff

DENVER  —  Colorado’s understaffed correctional facilities are causing dangerous conditions for officers.

According to Denver news station KDVR, there are more than 30 vacancies each at five Colorado correctional facilities, including 60 at the Sterling Correctional Facility. The vacancies represent some of the largest for officer jobs the state has ever seen.

The vacancies are putting officers at risk and creating opportunities for prisoners to attack. In November, four officers were assaulted in Sterling’s dining hall and an officer was seriously assaulted by a sharpened weapon at the Limon Correctional Facility.

DOC official Rick Tompkins believes these incidents are related to staffing.

Despite offering incentives like sign-on bonuses, the pay is only $41,000 a year. The Department of Corrections requested more money to increase pay and hire more officers over the years, but requests have been denied because lawmakers want criminal justice reform first.

Dominick Moreno, state senator and chair of the state’s Joint Budget Committee, says the state will look into staffing issues again when the new General Assembly begins this month.

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