Corrections officers understaffed Oklahoma prison

Saturday, March 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Lexington-AP) -- Prisons across the country have trouble attracting people who want to work for low pay in a hazardous and dirty environment.

And the problem is particularly bad in Oklahoma.

Out of five thousand 801 positions in Oklahoma's corrections department, 705 are unfunded or unfilled.

Oklahoma has a ratio of seven and a half inmates per correctional officer -- one of the worst rates in the nation.

The state's corrections officers start at about 16 thousand dollars a year. A bill before the Legislature would increase pay by six thousand dollars and give guards with direct contact with inmates an extra 300 dollars a month in hazardous duty pay.

At Lexington, there are 27 unfilled positions. On a recent night, there were 58 inmates for every guard on duty.