2 prisons on lockdown for violence amid staffing shortage

TIPTONVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Two Tennessee prisons are on lockdown because of violence amid a severe shortage of correctional officers.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/1LFyEJ7 ) the Tennessee Department of Correction recently switched correctional officers from a traditional 40-hour-work week to a 28-day schedule to save $1.4 million in overtime costs.

As the new schedule has rolled out, officers have quit. Prison security has become so understaffed that correctional officers are working double shifts, and some are traveling across state to temporarily fill vacancies.

Several prison workers have told the paper they are concerned the shortage will make prisons less safe.

On Friday, eight prisoners were injured in stabbings at a Tiptonville’s Northwest Correctional Complex. Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City is also on lockdown after a July 19 incident that injured an officer.