Monday, January 26, 2009
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Brauer, Poe & AFSCME: Logan Correctional Center a catastrophe waiting to happen

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[January 26, 2009]  SPRINGFIELD -- Operating with less than a "skeleton crew," the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln sustained three inmate fights and one correctional officer assault in the previous 48 hours, AFSCME officials said Thursday. State Reps. Rich Brauer, R-Petersburg, and Raymond Poe, Springfield, are calling upon the Department of Corrections and state leaders to promptly address this issue at the Logan Correctional Center to avoid a disastrous outcome.

"We have a very dangerous situation developing at the Logan Correctional Center," said Brauer. "Typically, a standard skeleton crew for the midnight shift consists of 30 correction officers. Last night, however, those crew numbers were reduced just to save money on overtime. We cannot allow our officers to be put in harmís way just to save a buck."

"The Department of Corrections and our state leaders must bring these practices to a halt," said Poe. "While staffing across the state are at crises levels, we simply cannot afford not to ensure the safety of our corrections officers. We must find a solution to this dire situation before it becomes deadly."

According to AFSCME official Roger Griffith, the reduction in staff has led to sergeants, lieutenants and majors, who are normally charged with command of the shift and overall security of the facility, to come inside the facility to move lines of inmates and guard housing units. As a result, these individuals are not available to assist when situations arise elsewhere.

"With these supervisors guarding and moving inmates, they are clearly not available to readily assist staff who may be assaulted or to assist staff in breaking up fights or other disturbances," said Roger Griffith. "While the corrections officers are clearly tired of the overtime, they understand that until the state takes care of the staffing shortages, overtime is necessary to protect the backs of their fellow officers."

[Text from file received from John Black, AFSCME Local 2073, on behalf of Reps. Rich Brauer and Raymond Poe]

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