The Kinross Correctional Facility, a state prison in Kinross, Michigan, is in a severe corrections officer staffing crisis. The current workforce of corrections officers at this prison has an alarming vacancy rate of 22%, with an anticipated increase over the next several months. The prison is 34 officers short of the required 154 officers that it is supposed to have, resulting in the remaining officers working an excessive, unsustainable amount of overtime. This staffing crisis has been going on for several years at this prison and is worsening.
To put this in perspective, over the two-week period from August 16,2023 through August 31, 2023, there were 423 overtime shifts at this prison. The majority of the overtime was “double shifts”, which means the officers worked 16 hours that day. Of those 423 overtime shifts, 225 of them were mandatory double shifts. During this same two-week period there were multiple 32-hour violations, including some officers working up to 20 hours.
The staffing crisis is taking a heavy toll on the corrections officers at the Kinross prison. Several of them shared examples.
“I’m a single father who is trying to raise two kids, who never gets to see them besides RDOs. I can’t ever plan on doing any activities with them. I catch myself daily on my hour ride to and from work constantly falling asleep.”
“I’m constantly tired, I have no time spend with my kids or wife. I literally spend more time at work than I do at home anymore, which is causing my major stress at home.”
“When is this ever going to end? I’ve been with the department for 8 years and all I’ve heard is it will get better! “
The Michigan Department of Corrections has tried to focus on their recruitment efforts, yet for the past several years the number of officers that have left the ranks has been greater than the number of newly hired officers. The most recent Corrections Officer Academies for new officers have only had approximately 50% of the seats filled, which will result in another net loss of officers at the end of this year. There are currently 920 corrections officer vacancies statewide in the MDOC, and that number is growing.
The corrections officer staffing crisis in Michigan prisons needs immediate attention, it is impacting the health and safety of the current officers, other MDOC staff and population, and the citizens of Michigan. These officers take pride in their work, even though most of the public is unaware of what they do and how well they do it. We are asking all of our Michigan legislators to take notice of this long-standing crisis and act on current legislation that will help address the long-term recruitment and retention of state corrections officers in Michigan.