Both the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret Morning News reported yesterday that the Utah State Prison is terribly understaffed. The Trib said
More than 25 percent of jobs at the Utah State Prison are unfilled, putting loads of overtime on employees and even forcing the warden to wear a uniform to keep watch on inmates.DesNews reported
"We're on the verge of crisis," says Tom Patterson, state Department of Corrections executive director. "We have to fill those spots. I worry about how long we can go at this rate. It frightens me."Teachers are important, and we need to pay them more than they're getting.
"This is temporary life support for heaven's sake, what we're doing here," said Capt. Matthew Huber, who oversees scheduling and deployment.
But I think public safety is more important, in the short run, than increasing teachers' salaries. Teachers help to decrease the population of the next generation of criminals, but the current generation has me more worried right now.
I think that as a state we could probably afford to do both, but the first priority seems to me to be increasing the wages of Utah prison guards.
How does $10/hour for everyone sound?