Guards Say Conditions Are Ripe for Prison Riot

Guards at prisons from around Wisconsin are saying understaffing and overcrowding could lead to a prison riot if conditions don't change.

Officers and sergeants testified before an Assembly committee Wednesday. They say Wisconsin prisons are at 134–percent of capacity. Staffing levels are so low some officers are being forced to work 16–hour days to cover all the shifts. They also say the Department of Corrections has lowered their hiring standards to the point where guards don't even need a high school diploma.

An overflowing population and undertrained staff has some guards worried about prison riots. Sgt. Paul Oosterhouse works at the Dodge Correctional Institute. "The way things are going inside the facilities the conditions are building, the ingredients are there, if we're not careful and the right spark is lit we could be in some serious trouble."

The guards say their concerns have been ignored by the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and they hope the legislature can help them out.

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