Nevada Correctional Officers Raise Alarm Over Chronic and Dangerous Understaffing in State Prisons

Carson City, Nevada – Correction Officers from AFSCME Local 4041 in Nevada are calling on the Nevada Department of Corrections, (NDOC) administrators to immediately address understaffing and cease hiring staff that are not adequately trained to keep inmates and the public safe, in light of the crisis situation occurring in NDOC right now.

In less than one month, two inmates have been brutally murdered, stabbed to death in our NDOC facilities.  Correctional Officers have feared these incidents could happen and now fear that they are next if staffing and security procedures don’t improve. The latest incident was on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, Nevada (NNCC). There, an inmate was murdered by another inmate while only one officer was assigned to the unit.  Creating a dangerous and unsafe condition for Officers, Staff and inmates alike.

Nevada Department of Corrections has been aware of these conditions for far too long, without taking immediate action to correct them. The time has come for NDOC to put the safety and security of corrections officers and support staff first and foremost. State employees come to work each day to serve their community and should not have to fear for their own lives. This is the current environment that we are faced with. The staffing shortages that plague the department are fixable and unnecessary. Each and every officer knows this, and realizes that this blatant disregard for safety is part of a pattern of neglect. They too have families, lives and aspirations and should no longer be silent to the disrespect being shown to them.

A few months ago overtime at all prisons throughout the state was cut dramatically and prison wardens changed their minimum staffing levels.  Further, NDOC has hired individuals without going through NDOC’s academy to fill positions that are statutorily required to be certified, trained peace officer through a Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) academy prior to working in these positions.  This violates NRS 209.131 Section 5. Ely State prison has around 30 of these untrained employees and there are more of these employees spread throughout other Nevada state prisons.  Some of these employees haven’t been through the required academy for nearly 12 months, causing additional safety and security concerns. 

That is why Correctional Officers, support staff  and AFSCME Local 4041 are requesting immediate action by NDOC to address these issues, and will soon be sitting down with NDOC officials to address this crisis.

AFSCME Local 4041 represents Nevada state employees.  AFSCME is the nation’s largest and fastest growing public service employees union with more than 1.6 million working and retired members. 

Any correctional employee who has additional safety and security concerns should contact the union via email at [email protected] or by phone at 775-882-3910. Correctional officers along with our union are going to be aggressively fighting for changes to this current staffing issue, as officers feel their lives are in jeopardy; as well as the safety of those within the facilities.