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Bill would allow retired prison guards to help fill corrections officer shortage

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A bill approved Tuesday by the Michigan House could help the state Department of Corrections address a staff shortage.

The bill would allow recently retired corrections officers to return to work on a temporary basis. They would be allowed to collect a state paycheck while still collecting their pension checks.

Republican Representative Julie Alexander represents part of Jackson County, which has four state correctional facilities. She said a lot of former corrections officers have told her they’d like to help out.

“I hear from a lot of people in my district that are correction officers, and what we know to be factual is there is a shortage that the current correction officers are challenged with the amount of hours and overshifts that they are working,” Alexander said.

She also said that creates situations that are not safe for prison staff and inmates.

Also, if signed into law, the measure could save the state money because it would incur less in overtime costs. But it’s impossible to estimate the overtime savings because it’s impossible to know how many retired officers would return to work.

The measure would apply to corrections officers who retired before January 1 of this year, and the offer would continue for two years after the bill takes effect.

The bill now goes to the state Senate.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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