by Brian Sonenstein, Shadowproof
Every state in the nation has reported prison staffing shortages since 2017, according to research by Shadowproof.
This is concerning because “staff shortages” are historically used to push for greater investments in prison systems, oftentimes riding reform waves like the one the United States is experiencing currently.
Officials claim investments are part of the modernization and improvement of carceral systems. Yet, as evidenced by the recurrence of reform movements every few decades, violence and abuse persist, and the staffing issues never truly abate.
In the first month of 2020, journalists called attention to so-called staffing crises in several states. Such issues were raised in the vast majority of other states in 2019.
Mississippi garnered national recognition for the deaths and atrocious conditions at Parchman. Staff levels were among the first excuses for such problems.
“Almost half of the roughly 1,300 corrections positions in three major facilities in Mississippi remain unfilled,” CBS News reported on January 23, pointing to a lawsuit blaming “the recent outbreaks of violence on the ‘culmination of years of severe understaffing and neglect at Mississippi’s prisons.’”
South Carolina prisons are rife with violence, neglect, and inhumane conditions. An incident at Lee Correctional ...