Staffing shortages impact operations at Michigan’s prisons

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – Prisons in Michigan are facing staffing shortages that corrections officers say threaten their daily operations.

Like many other industries, the Michigan Department of Corrections said they are seeing ‘significant’ vacancies for officers across the state.

G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson is a local state prison in need of more corrections officers. Their union, the Michigan Corrections Organization, called their current need a “severe staffing crisis”.

“They’re at approximately 25% vacancy rate right now, which as you can imagine results in a lot of mandatory overtime for the remaining officers. So it’s really taking a toll on the current workforce,” said Byron Osborn, corrections officer and president of the Michigan Corrections Organization.

Right now, Michigan has hundreds of prison officer vacancies. “I think it’s at about 920 right now,” said Osborn. He said all four prison facilities in Jackson need more staff.

“Folks are working a lot of overtime, a lot of mandatory overtime. They’re exhausted physically. They’re not as alert as they probably should be in the setting we’re in. It’s just an awful burden,” said Osborn.

A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Corrections confirmed the staffing shortages Wednesday in a statement.

The Department has $12 million to recruit and retain more staff. It’s an incentive that MDOC said will attract more workers that are ready to fill these positions.

“We’ve got the departments utilizing other staff from outside of our ranks to try and help fill in the holes in our ranks, which then, of course, puts a burden on them,” said Byron.

Osborn is now calling on lawmakers to solve what he calls a “severe staffing crisis.”

Jackson area correctional facilities will have a job fair August 6-12 to hire Corrections Officers, Healthcare and Mental Health professionals, Food Service staff, Skilled Trades workers, and other positions. The fair will be located at the Jackson County Fair at Jackson County Fair, 128 West Ganson Street, Jackson, Michigan, 49201.

Contact Information

Darrick Alvarez, Recruitment Analyst


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