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State Paying For Shortage Of Prison Guards

An audit says it could take the Department of Corrections until 2009 to resolve a chronic shortage of correctional officers.

The high overtime costs exceeded $110 million in just the first half of the last fiscal year. A similar audit in November found that overtime accounted for the bulk of the department´s nearly $200 million budget shortfall two years ago.

At the same time, the audit says the state´s new contract with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association both increases the department´s costs and limits management´s control of labor costs.

What´s more, the audit finds some contract provisions likely increase guards´ use of sick time, which in turn will drive up overtime costs to cover for the absent guards.