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Alabama’s troubled prison system losing staff


The Alabama prison system lost 4% of its employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The system is already considered understaffed and facing a federal court order to boost employment numbers. Alabama’s vacancy rate among corrections positions stands at 52%. The numbers were listed in quarterly staffing reports the system is required to file with the federal court. Staff shortages have long been a problem for corrections agencies, the pandemic brought new challenges for systems across the country. The number of people working for Alabama’s prison system will soon include the Corrections Commissioner. Jeff Dunn announced he was leaving is stepping down after six years leading the troubled system that faces a Justice Department lawsuit over prison conditions. Deputy secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency John Hamm will take over on January first. The Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit against Alabama last year, saying male inmates face unconstitutional levels of prisoner-on-prisoner and guard-on-prisoner violence. Alabama Public Radio’s news team was honored with a national Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists for its six month investigation of prison reform in the state. Click below to listen.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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