An ongoing dispute at the Allegheny County Jail – correctional officers versus prison management – led both sides to release statements on Sunday.
The president of the union which represents the officers claimed that the prison did not have enough workers for the third week in a row.
President Brian Englert sent the following statement about personnel issues that he and other employees would face at the prison:
“Today, the jail is again short-staffed for the third week in a row. The second shift is made up of seven hall escorts and one intake officer. The County continues to pay overtime so that an officer is occupying the employee lounge because the supplier, Summit, cannot fulfill its contract and provide employees.This has cost taxpayers more than $175,000 since last March.Understaffing is dangerous for prison inmates prison, due to the officer’s lack of response during an altercation between inmates. It’s also dangerous because we have far fewer officers to respond to assaults by inmate on inmate or inmate against an agent. I requested that the prison be locked down for the shift, via the chain of command. This was denied by Major Fred Young.
The president of the prison officers’ union appeared on PCNC’s “Pittsburgh Now” last month after a “confidence” vote against the warden, saying prison workers were overworked and understaffed. A few days later, prison warden Orlando Harper defended his administration.
The prison released its own statement on Sunday, saying it had enough workers:
“Mr. Englert is a commander and does not make personnel decisions. We have appropriate personnel in place and would not put anyone’s safety at risk. His assertions to the contrary, however, do just that.
We continue to recruit and seek out individuals interested in serving as Correctional Officers to increase staff strength and welcome anyone interested in visiting the county website or registering for the next fair. virtual job at https://www.vfairs.com/solutions/virtual-career-fair/”
There’s been a lot of back and forth between the two sides, and it looks like agreeing on the best course of action could take some time.
Stick with Channel 11 as we continue to monitor this developing situation.
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