Crime & Courts

Alaska prisons department says it needs over 100 more employees

In a new report, Alaska's Department of Corrections says it needs more than 100 additional employees to keep up with current programs, security and operational requirements, but it doesn't have the personnel budget to back it.

DOC released the 223-page staffing analysis Thursday evening. The report highlighted major issues and recommendations to mend the staffing shortage gap.

"Our analysis indicted that a number of the facilities are currently operating with staffing levels insufficient to meet basic security operational requirements," the report stated.

According to the report, in the short term DOC needs at least 1,977 employees to properly function within the requirements of the professional correctional standards and practices. DOC would need to increase staffing by 5.4 percent, or 102 employees.

Fifty-seven percent of the recommended short-term staffing increase would be to provide relief staff to corrections officers, which is not currently budgeted, the report states. The rest would be to ensure adequate health care at various facilities around the state.

Long-term recommendations suggested DOC needs 144 additional employees, for a total of 2,019 employees. The report said although it is a larger number, it should be DOC's operating standard, but that's even further above DOC's current budget.

The report breaks down some of the biggest issues caused by the staffing shortage using data collected through document review, inspections and staff interviews. The analysis was conducted by CGL, the same company that conducted the performance review of DOC in 2014.


The new report says the staffing shortage results in overtime pay, vacancies from other posts, unqualified personnel filling positions and lack of required training.

In a statement, DOC Commissioner Dean Williams, who was appointed in late January, said he would take the next several weeks to review and digest the information provided in the analysis. He said in coming months he'd meet with unions to further discuss the report and possible changes.

Megan Edge

Megan Edge is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch and Alaska Dispatch News.