Correction Department closes two small prison facilities due to staff vacancies | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Correction Department closes two small prison facilities due to staff vacancies

Posted By on Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 1:24 PM

MISSING GUARDS: Vacancies at the ADC skyrocketed despite a July pay bump.
  • MISSING GUARDS: Vacancies at the ADC skyrocketed despite a July pay bump.

The Arkansas Department of Correction today announced the closure of two of its smaller units because of staffing concerns.

The correctional officers at the temporarily closed Cummins Modular Unit in Grady, a 300-bed minimum-security male facility with 27 correctional officers, and the Tucker Reentry Center located in Tucker, a 124-bed minimum-security female facility with 25 correctional officers, will be transferred to larger units with greater needs.

Director Wendy Kelley said in a memo provided to the Board of Corrections that "staff levels have reached a level that requires immediate action," in justifying the decision.

In the memo, Kelley said those units receiving transfers have large gaps in staffing: The Varner Unit in Grady has 97 correctional officer vacancies, the Maximum Security Unit in Tucker has 57 correctional officer vacancies, and the Tucker Unit (sometimes called "Little Tucker" to distinguish itself from the Tucker Max Unit) has 57 correctional officers vacancies.

She added that, overall, 560 of the 2,484 correctional officer positions are vacant.

Director Kelley said she's informed wardens at other prisons and re-entry centers to prepare to take in prisoners from other units.

As we wrote last month, the ADC has struggled to retain guards despite a pay bump during this summer. Thirty-eight percent of the correctional officers hired by the Arkansas Department of Correction in 2017 have left the department. Former guards told us that the problem wasn't the pay, it was the culture.

According to Kelley, the pay in overtime to guards is unsustainable.

"We cannot ask staff to continue to work [mandatory] overtime at the current rate," Kelley said in the press release.

You can read the full memo here.

UPDATE (4:00 p.m.)

ADC said that a unit has been closed before because of staffing.

In Jan. 2012 the Diagnostic Unit in Pine Bluff was closed after the Ouachita River Correctional Unit was built — staff were transferred to the new ORCU. The former Diagnostic Unit was reopened in 2015 as a Barbara Ester Unit.

Payment for correctional officers moved will be decided "once the individual transfers are finalized," said Solomon Graves, ADC spokesperson.

Tags: , , ,



Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Jacob Rosenberg

Readers also liked…

  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017
  • Tom Cotton's influence on Trump's new security chief

    U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is getting credit for pushing President Donald Trump to select Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser, Politico reports.
    • Feb 21, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation