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Officials: Major understaffing in Idaho prisons raises risks

Prison Overcrowding Lawsuit
Posted at 7:21 PM, Jul 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-14 21:21:13-04

BOISE, Idaho — Prisons in Idaho are so understaffed that correctional officers often end up working mandatory 16-hour shifts, leaving them just eight hours to sleep, eat and see their families before returning to duty.

Idaho Department of Correction Director Josh Tewalt told Board of Correction members Wednesday about the staff shortages, saying roughly one-quarter of correctional officer positions are vacant. That’s the lowest staffing rate the state has seen in the past six years.

Prison understaffing can lead to dangerous conditions for workers and inmates. Several Idaho prisons have had to curtail visitation because of understaffing.