Staff Shortage At Dallas County Jail

Dallas County Jail_G J McCarthy
Image by G. J. McCarthy / Dallas Morning News

Last week, correction officers held a protest highlighting a dangerous staffing situation affecting the Dallas County Jail. Officers are concerned about hazardous conditions inside the jail that include short staffing issues. With many officers leaving their positions to retire or leave the prison, others still working are forced into mandated shifts.

Some officers have to work double shifts, totaling 16 hours, several times a week. Tired and overworked correction officers are trying to oversee more than 5,000 inmates inside the jail.

Meanwhile, inmates also report concerns of their own.

According to reporting by The Business Insider, inmates are not receiving proper cleaning supplies, masks, or clean laundry when needed.

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price spoke with NBC DFW, saying that there is a ratio of one officer to 48 inmates. With short staffing issues, many officers are mandated to work longer shifts to cover the deficit.

“We have to be in compliance, and sometimes that means you have to be mandated if we don’t get enough volunteers,” Price stated.

The current staff shortage at the Dallas County Jail is due to several problems that stem from officers retiring, officers quarantining due to COVID-19 exposure, or those sick with the virus. While many have left, one officer shared that the jail has not hired anyone to fill the multiple open positions.

“Currently, because we have vacancies, we must utilize overtime to remain in compliance,” Sheriff Marian Brown shared with Business Insider. “We continue to work to get to a point where overtime is not a necessity.”

There were also complaints from some officers who contracted COVID-19; guards are mandated to wear masks, but prisoners are not.

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