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Filed: Country: Belarus
Timeline

State prison guard shortage 'critical'

Most understaffed units at remote sites, where it's hard to lure employees

By LISA SANDBERG

2008 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau

AUSTIN — The Neal prison in Amarillo has so few guards working these days that Dorothy Barfoot, a correctional officer, often finds herself working alone in a dorm with 80 to 100 male felons. Sometimes she gets so scared her knees shake.

"Usually there should be two (correctional officers with me), at least," said the 13-year veteran.

But the prison can't find enough people to do the job of guarding inmates in Amarillo or anywhere else.

The Texas prison system is short more than 4,300 guards, with 17 percent of its full-time security positions unfilled. Nearly one in five of the state's 106 prisons operates with fewer than 75 percent of its correctional guards.

Far-flung Fort Stockton, the worst-staffed unit, operates with 59 percent of its correctional officers.

Barfoot's lockup in Amarillo operates with 76 percent of its alloted guard positions.

The prison system has 34 percent fewer guards today than when seven Texas inmates pulled off an escape at the Connally Unit in South Texas in 2000, even though its inmate population has grown 5 percent since then, to 153,000.

Testifying before a legislative hearing last month, Texas Prison Board Chairman Brad Livingston called the guard shortage "critical."

To deal with the shortage, the prison board recently approved a 10 percent emergency raise for new employees, bringing starting salaries to $25,000 a year and $1,500 signing bonuses for those taking jobs at the hardest-to-staff units.

The raises were an attempt to address the fact that Texas guards earned the second-lowest salaries in the nation, according to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The turnover rate for first-year correctional staff is 43 percent.

The signing bonuses were a recognition that staffing shortages are as much about geography as about pay.

Texas prisons were built in some of the most out-of-the-way areas of the state.

Thirteen of the 15 prisons with the most severe guard shortages are in towns with fewer than 15,000 people.

Nine of those places have lost, not gained, residents since 2000.

Dalhart Unit hard to staff

Consider the Dalhart Unit, a 1,300-bed facility that operates with 31 percent of its correctional staff positions unfilled and is located in a remote Panhandle town of the same name with 7,000 residents.

Marty Turner, a field representative with the union in the region that includes Dalhart, said the prison is always short-staffed because it has a tiny work force to draw from.

"There's no help," he said. Skyrocketing gas prices have made it difficult to lure people to commute from distant towns, he said.

A shortage of affordable housing keeps them away.

State Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat who chairs the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice, said he blamed the staffing problems squarely on decisions made during the massive prison building boom of the 1990s to put most of the units in far-flung locations.

"The state built most of its prisons in all the wrong places," he said. "They used prisons for economic development. The rural counties would give you the land and throw in other incentives. It might have looked like a bargain, but we're paying a huge price for it."

Allan Polunsky served on the prison board between 1987 and 2000, when the prison population jumped from 49,000 inmates to 147,000. In an interview last month, Polunsky said he was generally opposed to building prisons in rural areas. But his board colleagues, and the rural lawmakers who wielded power back then, favored it.

The state built most of its correctional facilities for youth in remote places, too, and now faces chronic staffing shortages at many of those units. Whitmire champions closing the Texas Youth Commission altogether and moving its 2,800 juvenile offenders back to the mostly urban communities from which they come.

Raises create resentment

Union leaders say the recent raises for newly hired guards may do nothing to ease the shortage because the fix largely ignores seasoned officers.

"They've created a big problem with the veterans. They're raising Cain. They've been the backbone of this agency," said Brian Olsen, who heads the correctional officers union.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5714829.html


"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave."

"...for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process."

US Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX)

Testimony to the House Immigration Subcommittee, February 24, 1995

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Mexico
Timeline

I thought we had USCs chomping at the bit for a job, any job, and blaming those rascally illegals for taking them away! And here we have an employer practically BEGGING to hire people and there are no takers?

It was a badly thought out decision to build prisons and detention facilities in a place where there wasn't a ready-made workforce, but if USCs are saying "I need a job, but I won't do that (move to Weirdville, Texas)" I'd imagine that they'll also be saying "I need a job but I won't do that (work in the recently raided poultry plants)."


Joined Blog Dorkdom. Read here: Visit My Website

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Panama
Timeline
I thought we had USCs chomping at the bit for a job, any job, and blaming those rascally illegals for taking them away!

:whistle:

The prison guards here make a ton of money,the overtime is rally nice too.You have to complete a "boot camp" like training first.


May 7,2007-USCIS received I-129f
July 24,2007-NOA1 was received
April 21,2008-K-1 visa denied.
June 3,2008-waiver filed at US Consalate in Panama
The interview went well,they told him it will take another 6 months for them to adjudicate the waiver
March 3,2009-US Consulate claims they have no record of our December visit,nor Manuel's interview
March 27,2009-Manuel returned to the consulate for another interrogation(because they forgot about December's interview),and they were really rude !
April 3,2009-US Counsalate asks for more court documents that no longer exist !
June 1,2009-Manuel and I go back to the US consalate AGAIN to give them a letter from the court in Colon along with documents I already gave them last year.I was surprised to see they had two thick files for his case !


June 15,2010-They called Manuel in to take his fingerprints again,still no decision on his case!
June 22,2010-WAIVER APPROVED at 5:00pm
July 19,2010-VISA IN MANUELITO'S HAND at 3:15pm!
July 25,2010-Manuelito arrives at 9:35pm at Logan Intn'l Airport,Boston,MA
August 5,2010-FINALLY MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!
August 23,2010-Filed for AOS at the International Institute of RI $1400!
December 23,2010-Work authorization received.
January 12,2011-RFE

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Filed: Country: United Kingdom
Timeline
I thought we had USCs chomping at the bit for a job, any job, and blaming those rascally illegals for taking them away!

:whistle:

The prison guards here make a ton of money,the overtime is rally nice too.You have to complete a "boot camp" like training first.

I think it depends where you are. Prison guards in Indiana are paid pretty badly.

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Filed: Lift. Cond. (apr) Country: China
Timeline
The prison guards here make a ton of money,the overtime is rally nice too.You have to complete a "boot camp" like training first.

It is a very unpleasant job. Not many people can tolerate it for a long time.


  • 07/17/07 Returned from two months in China. All K1 documents 'in hand'.
  • 07/19/07 Completed preparation of I-129F & associated documentation. Mailed it.
  • 08/03/07 Received NOA1 from the CSC.
  • 12/13/07 Received NOA2 from the CSC.
  • 01/23/08 NVC sent our case to U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou China.
  • 03/31/08 U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou China received, issued case number.
  • 04/05/08 P3 received.
  • 04/06/08 P3 sent.
  • 05/01/08 P4 received.
  • 05/12/08 Flight to China.
  • 06/23/08 Interview at U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou China- PINK.
  • 06/25/08 K1 & K2 visas received.
  • 07/09/08 We all arrive in America, Chicago POE
  • 08/06/08 Fiancee receives SSN (req. for marriage in our state)
  • 08/08/08 Married
  • 09/01/08 Moved into new house. AR-11's filed for wife & son.
  • 09/19/08 AOS / EAD package mailed.
  • 09/25/08 AOS / EAD NOAs.
  • 10/02/08 Biometrics letters.
  • 10/16/08 Biometrics taken.
  • 10/17/08 Case transferred to CSC.
  • 12/08/08 EADs approved / EAD cards issued.
  • 03/05/09 AOS approved.
  • 03/12/09 Green Cards received.
  • 09/17/10 Application for Lifting Conditions Mailed.
  • 10/04/10 NOA1
  • 10/19/10 Biometrics Taken.
  • 01/07/11 Removal of Conditions Approved
  • 02/26/12 Still Happily Married & Doing Well

4983700_bodyshot_300x400.gif

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Russia
Timeline

:thumbs: Plus, think... You are literally "in prison" for a third (or more) of your day too! If you worked there for 18 years, you've served a 6 year sentence yourself.

The prison guards here make a ton of money,the overtime is rally nice too.You have to complete a "boot camp" like training first.

It is a very unpleasant job. Not many people can tolerate it for a long time.


Jeffery AND Alla.

0 kilometers physically separates us!

K-1 Visa Granted... Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Alla ARRIVED to America... Wednesday, 12 November 2008

russia_a.gif Алла и Джеффри USA_a.gif

AllaAndJeffery.PNG

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Mexico
Timeline

My landlord is a correctional officer, and I just can't imagine him doing the job...he's probably one of the nicest, mellowest fellows I've ever met!

Unfortunately, he and his fellow officers have been without a contract for a few years now!


Joined Blog Dorkdom. Read here: Visit My Website

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Filed: AOS (pnd) Country: Egypt
Timeline

My husband is a correctional officer, great benefits, great pay, bit it defenetly changed him as a person!!


I-130 & G325A

09/11/2007 I-130 & G-325A mailed today, to Los angeles, CA

03/16/2008 Received RFE I-130

03/26/2008 RFE for I-130, sent to LA Through USPS Certified mail

03/31/2008 I-130 RFE response letter is received

04/09/2008 I-130 case processing has resumed

04/17/2008 I-130 APPROVED!!!! DATED 04/14/08 YAY!! 7 monthes to approve.

I-485 & EAD

03/13/2008 Sent I-485 & EAD to Chicago Lockbox through USPS Priority Mail

03/16/2008 I-485 & EAD Received by R. MERCEDO USCIS Chicago IL

03/25/2008 Received NOAs for I-485, I-765

03/28/2008 Received Biometrics Appointment Notice

03/29/2008 Biometrics done-Appointment Scheduled 4/05, but I went early.

03/31/2008 Case Status shows up Online

04/03/2008 EAD touched

04/10/2008 RFE for I-485 received today, dated 4/04/08

04/11/2008 Sent RFE to Lee's Summit, MO / USPS priority mail

04/14/2008 USCIS received RFE response; signed by C BORDERS.

04/17/2008 Case processing resumed

04/22/2008 Touched

05/09/2008 Received EAD Approval Notice from CRIS "Card production odered"

05/14/2008 EAD card production ordered, 2nd notice

05/16/2008 EAD Approved & Sent!! (61 days)

05/19/2008 EAD in hand!!!!!

GOD SPEED FOR ALL OF US WITH TRUE INTENTIONS!!

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Filed: Country: Morocco
Timeline
State prison guard shortage 'critical'

To deal with the shortage, the prison board recently approved a 10 percent emergency raise for new employees, bringing starting salaries to $25,000 a year and $1,500 signing bonuses for those taking jobs at the hardest-to-staff units.

The raises were an attempt to address the fact that Texas guards earned the second-lowest salaries in the nation, according to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Looks like a pretty low salary to me in Texas~! I always thought prison guards made a lot of money too. I would definitely NOT do it for $25,000/yr!


"It's far better to be alone than wish you were." - Ann Landers

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Panama
Timeline
I thought we had USCs chomping at the bit for a job, any job, and blaming those rascally illegals for taking them away!

:whistle:

The prison guards here make a ton of money,the overtime is rally nice too.You have to complete a "boot camp" like training first.

I think it depends where you are. Prison guards in Indiana are paid pretty badly.

Really ? That must suck. :angry:

State prison guard shortage 'critical'

To deal with the shortage, the prison board recently approved a 10 percent emergency raise for new employees, bringing starting salaries to $25,000 a year and $1,500 signing bonuses for those taking jobs at the hardest-to-staff units.

The raises were an attempt to address the fact that Texas guards earned the second-lowest salaries in the nation, according to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Looks like a pretty low salary to me in Texas~! I always thought prison guards made a lot of money too. I would definitely NOT do it for $25,000/yr!

They make double that here that doesn't include overtime and benefits.


May 7,2007-USCIS received I-129f
July 24,2007-NOA1 was received
April 21,2008-K-1 visa denied.
June 3,2008-waiver filed at US Consalate in Panama
The interview went well,they told him it will take another 6 months for them to adjudicate the waiver
March 3,2009-US Consulate claims they have no record of our December visit,nor Manuel's interview
March 27,2009-Manuel returned to the consulate for another interrogation(because they forgot about December's interview),and they were really rude !
April 3,2009-US Counsalate asks for more court documents that no longer exist !
June 1,2009-Manuel and I go back to the US consalate AGAIN to give them a letter from the court in Colon along with documents I already gave them last year.I was surprised to see they had two thick files for his case !


June 15,2010-They called Manuel in to take his fingerprints again,still no decision on his case!
June 22,2010-WAIVER APPROVED at 5:00pm
July 19,2010-VISA IN MANUELITO'S HAND at 3:15pm!
July 25,2010-Manuelito arrives at 9:35pm at Logan Intn'l Airport,Boston,MA
August 5,2010-FINALLY MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!
August 23,2010-Filed for AOS at the International Institute of RI $1400!
December 23,2010-Work authorization received.
January 12,2011-RFE

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Filed: Other Country: Morocco
Timeline

yeah they make a ton of money out here in california too, and since all the prisons are understaffed there is pretty much unlimited overtime available. I hve a girlfriend who's husband makes about 10 grand a month. but he works his ### off for long hours and I am SURE its a kinda hellish job.


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Filed: Timeline
State prison guard shortage 'critical'

Most understaffed units at remote sites, where it's hard to lure employees

By LISA SANDBERG

2008 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau

AUSTIN — The Neal prison in Amarillo has so few guards working these days that Dorothy Barfoot, a correctional officer, often finds herself working alone in a dorm with 80 to 100 male felons. Sometimes she gets so scared her knees shake.

Hopefully, no one in the Neal prison has a subscription to the Houston Chronicle, putting Dorothy Barfoot even more at risk.


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