IDOC reps explain overtime, inmate population numbers – WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Posted: March 29, 2014 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized

$60 million. In 2013, that’s how much Illinois spent on overtime for those working where criminals serve time, Department of Corrections employees.

Like workers in many industries, some corrections workers pick up slack, working overtime when others are sick, on leaves of absence or just off-site. It’s actually a requirement, in the IDOC’s contract with its staff’s union.

“We will never leave a mandatory security post uncovered at any time.” -says IDOC Communications Director Tom Shaer.Union leaders believe the overtime costs are the result of overcrowding and understaffing. Shaer says statewide inmate populations have increased 10% in the last seven years and at Dixon Correctional Center, populations have increased 10% in the last five years. But, with around 2,300 inmates, Dixon still isn’t at capacity.

“We’re crowded, but not overcrowded. We’re not completely full, but we’re close, so we wouldn’t increase the Dixon population much more than it has.” -says Shaer.

While the IDOC doesn’t object to the need for more staff members, Shaer says it’s not the main reason for overtime.

“The biggest part of the cause for overtime are employees calling in sick, calling in for other reasons that are within their contract, family reasons, weather, can’t get in it’s snowing.

“According to department numbers, Dixon Correctional Center overtime expenses have fluctuated in the last five years, currently half a million dollars more than the cost in 2009. Shaer points out, this year is more expensive, partly because of scheduled pay raises, dating back two years.

“But, the money couldn’t be paid until the General Assembly freed up the funding and gave us the money to pay these folks, that now is pushed into this fiscal year.

“The IDOC total budget is $1.2 billion. With a staff of 11,000, it employs 20% of all state workers.

Overtime in FY ’14 is projected to be $7 million less than FY ’13.

via IDOC reps explain overtime, inmate population numbers – WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader.

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