Detention Center Staffing Shortages Are Putting Officers in Danger

Shifts in the labor market are affecting almost every sector but some more severely than others, especially in corrections where shortcuts due to staffing can be dangerous. 

A Maryland Matters article highlighted the safety concerns in Maryland detention centers, at both the state and local level, when staffing shortages persist. Union representatives reiterated that the shortages have lead to taking short cuts that put officers in danger. One officer was said to have been assaulted last year while working a post with an inmate to officer ratio of 5 to 1.

Some of the violence inside the state’s prisons is the result of limited correctional officers who work up to 80 hours per week, according to the union. Covered previously on the Conduit Street blog, the corrections officer profession has been plagued by mental and physical health challenges for decades, despite the new issues. The problem has been compounded recently by labor market shifts, particularly the decreasing interest and willingness of younger generations considering the profession.

This topic will also be covered at length during the 2023 MACo Winter Conference session, “Correctional Officers as Caregivers: The Importance of Mental Health and Crisis Support.” MACo’s Winter Conference, “Eye of the Storm,” is scheduled for December 6-8, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, MD. More information can be found on our conference website.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: