Prisons keeping schedule blamed for low morale, turnover

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – State prison officials say they are keeping a controversial shift schedule that critics have blamed for understaffing and violence.

Correction Department spokeswoman Neysa Taylor says the 28-day schedule won’t change, although facilities may now use 12-hour shifts or 8.5-hours shifts, depending on their needs.

Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield in October told the Senate Corrections Subcommittee the department would survey workers about schedule preferences after an audit recommended changing to a 14-day schedule with 12-hour shifts.

The Correction Department requested the audit following a public outcry over violence that workers blamed on understaffing tied to the 28-day schedule. Previously correction officers worked regular seven-day, 40-hour weeks.

The 28-day schedule was intended to control costs by reducing overtime, but an auditor said it was leading to low morale, stress and turnover.

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