Texas prison staff shortage raising concerns - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Texas prison staff shortage raising concerns

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Texas - There's an increased concern over the safety of prison staff in Texas.

A staffing shortage is not a new problem at Texas prisons but it's getting worse.

Union leaders and prison officials agree that it's due to the growth of the oil and gas industry.

As a result, it's created private sector jobs that compete with prisons for workers.

The spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice says although the department is aware they are understaffed, all "critical security positions are filled."

Serious assaults on staff members in Texas also continues to rise; in 2010 there were 72 and in 2012 there were 96.

The last time an officer was killed by an inmate was in 2007.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says they've begun to see a high turnover rate.

This has led to corruption among some officers, since they have no intent in staying in the business.

To combat the situation, within the past decade the department has implemented new measures including body alarms, video surveillance systems and stab-resistant vests.