Staffing issues at the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins and the Wyoming Women’s Center in Lusk could jeopardize prison safety, Wyoming Department of Corrections Director Bob Lampert told lawmakers in Casper on Thursday.

Low pay, a lack of affordable housing and the remote nature of Rawlins and Lusk are driving away corrections officers from the two prisons, which today are staffed at around 70% of where they should be, Lampert told the Legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee. The officers that remain are working increasingly long hours. The WDOC has spent 500% of its overtime budget for the current two-year budget period after just one year, Lampert said.

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