Milwaukee County Jail Slammed With Extreme Staffing Shortages

“Instead of worrying about what they call their inmates, maybe the MCSO should deal with their blue flu,” a source told Wisconsin Right Now, but the sheriff’s spokesman points out that the county board and executive are doing the Have power over compensation.

The Milwaukee County Jail is grappling with severe staffing shortages, partly due to low wages that are inconsistent with other local prisons, such as Racines, Wisconsin Right Now. 84 people are missing, and last week alone three more correctional officers resigned.

The staff shortage is worse as people call in sick, sources told us. How bad is the prison crisis? A source told us that more than 35 correctional officers called in sick on Saturday and more than 25 on Sunday alone.

The sheriff’s spokesman confirmed to Wisconsin Right Now that “we currently occupy 177 of the 261 officer positions we hold, a number that has declined rapidly in recent months.”

The problems in Milwaukee County Jail come at a time when Milwaukee crime is skyrocketing, and it results in Milwaukee police detaining people in county stations for days when they would normally be detained for hours, a source told Wisconsin Right Now. We also heard that the problems have arisen following a gradual reduction in budgeted positions in the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office over the years, which has added up over time as police rhetoric continues to be defused across the country.

James Burnett, spokesman for Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas, attributed the staffing problems in part to the low pay of law enforcement officers. “The sheriff’s office has no authority to provide compensation. Decision-making here rests entirely in the hands of the county board and the county board, but we work tirelessly to promote fair pay for our officers, “he said, calling the current compensation for the county’s correctional officers” unacceptably low pay. ” . “He acknowledged that the pace of bookings has slowed and said,” The more people leave the agency, the more mandatory overtime becomes inevitable and workplace conditions deteriorate no matter how hard we work. “

Sheriff Earnell Lucas

We heard of the staffing problems at Milwaukee County Jail when we wrote a story about the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, renaming inmates “Person in Our Care” and “Inmate”, and removing the word “correction” from law enforcement officers’ titles. A source contacted us and said, “Instead of worrying about what they call their inmates, maybe the MCSO should deal with their blue flu.” People quit and call in sick, which makes the problem worse, this source said.

Burnett debunked reports that about 20 officers resigned last week. Three did. Everyone went to the Racine County Jail, where they could make more an hour. “Against this background, it is quite possible that up to 20 officers take a close look at other positions because their outstanding performance in their current functions is not being fairly rewarded.

“We have been proactively communicating to our employees about our efforts to increase compensation and will continue to do so on an individual basis in an attempt to retain as many of our employees as possible,” said Burnett. We asked him how many officers had resigned and called in sick since the beginning of the year, and he said he would get us those numbers (to be fair, he only had about an hour before this story was published. We will insert these numbers into this story upon receipt.)

Milwaukee County JailMarcelia Nicholson, Milwaukee District Executive Chairwoman

We reached out to District President Marcelia Nicholson and District President David Crowley to ask what they are doing to address the staff shortage at Milwaukee County Jail and if they support increasing the sheriff’s CO salaries and budget. We also reached out to the Milwaukee County Deputy Sheriff’s Association. We haven’t heard anything yet.

Another source told us that Milwaukee County Jail is sometimes half full and deputies are being withdrawn from other areas to aid in prison operations. The source said the correctional officers would go through the supervisors for higher pay and better treatment. “The first shift is postponed for the second and the second for the third, and so on – almost no days off,” the second source said, adding that COs qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act.

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“It’s pretty much a doctor’s excuse to get out of it all; it can be used for long periods of time and or intermittently as needed by the person who has it, and because it is medical, supervisors cannot ask questions, ”the source says.

The FMLA website states: “The FMLA entitles eligible employees of insured employers to unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons with the continuation of group health insurance cover under the same conditions as if the employee had not taken any leave. ”

We asked Burnett about all of this.

“MCSO has worked tirelessly to address these longstanding challenges,” he told us. “The agency’s senior management is working closely with our officers’ association to address concerns about working conditions. In the past few months, we have made major changes in day-to-day operations in consultation with our officials due to the downsizing. This includes creating additional incentives for voluntary overtime, including better provision of free time. In addition, at the request of our officers, we have set up a fourth, split shift that runs parallel to the 1st and 2nd shift and helps to limit overtime through its structure. “

However, he said the Milwaukee County Jail needed longer-term corrections.

“With that in mind, these are just a patchwork solution to a more important problem: unacceptably low pay that drives exceptionally talented officers to seek better-paid positions in the area,” said Burnett. “The more employees leave the agency, the more compulsory overtime becomes inevitable and working conditions deteriorate no matter how hard we work and no matter how well we coordinate with the officials concerned. 177 of the 261 officer positions held are currently occupied, a number that has rapidly declined in recent months. “

Milwaukee County Jail Pay

Burnett said the starting salary for a correctional officer in Milwaukee County is $ 21 an hour, compared to $ 29 or more in other jurisdictions.

“There is no doubt that more of our employees are planning significant increases in salaries in other agencies. It’s hard to blame them: while we run the busiest and most demanding facility in the area, our starting officer salary is less than $ 21 an hour and essentially remains stagnant due to the county’s lack of funds to keep in jail make incremental salary increases, “he said.” Other jurisdictions that operate with much smaller inmate populations are investigating (or have already introduced) officer salaries of $ 29 an hour and more. “

He added, “Currently, MCSO is working with members of the county board to introduce a raise that ideally will take effect this October when it is registered and approved in the county board’s September cycle. The sheriff’s office has no power to pay compensation. The decision-making authority here lies exclusively in the hands of the district executive and the district executive, but we work tirelessly to promote fair pay for our officials. “

Burnett added, “Even with such low staffing levels, we are still booking more than 50 people a day, albeit at a slower pace than before this emergency. We understand the impact of this situation on our partner agencies across Milwaukee County and, frankly, on our own Police Services Bureau. We supplement the prison staff with deputy sheriffs for voluntary overtime – as far as this is feasible in view of the personnel requirements for our deputies at the airport, in courts and in the field. “

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