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National Guard May Be Called To Work At Understaffed FL Prisons

As Florida struggles with a shortage of correctional officers, a legislative panel will consider a plan that would activate Florida National Guard members to help, CBS News reports. The Joint Legislative Budget Commission is scheduled on Friday to take up a proposal to free up $31.25 million that partly would be used to cover the costs of activating National Guard members. "The Florida Department of Corrections is currently experiencing a correctional officer staffing shortage resulting in extensive correctional officer overtime," the proposal said.

"In an effort to reduce overtime and provide relief to existing correctional officers, the Florida National Guard members will be activated."

The proposal did not say how many National Guard members could be activated, but it said their duties will "exclude any direct supervision of inmates, except where such supervision occurs as a normal part of manning control stations or when required in an emergency situation pertaining to safety and security." Florida has long grappled with shortages of correctional officers and has taken steps such as increasing pay to help hire and keep officers. The shortages have resulted in officers working large amounts of overtime and supervising numerous inmates. Corrections Secretary Ricky Dixon told senators in January that the agency had 5,849 unfilled correctional-officer positions, which he called a "significant vacancy rate."


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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