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Cutbacks Forced in Nevada Prison-Guard Training

April 24, 2002

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Cutbacks Forced in Nevada Prison-Guard Training

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CARSON CITY, NV -- Formal training of the newest class of state prison guards has been cut short to save money spent on overtime to run the academy.

The officers will return to the training in two weeks, Jackie Crawford, director of the state Department of Corrections, said. She and union officials said there will be no danger when the new guards, who were in their second week of the four-week course, take their posts.

Prison officials have disclosed they faced a $500,000 shortfall this fiscal year, driven by a high amount of overtime, Crawford said.

That overtime cost is fueled by the training academy. When officers are assigned to teach the classes, others have to be put in their place at the prison, forcing overtime.

Crawford said she is developing a new training schedule to reduce the overtime.

She said there is no danger to other correctional officers or the inmates because of the temporary cutback. The new guards will be assigned to posts at the prisons under the supervision of veterans.

Ed Flagg, president of the Nevada Corrections Association, agreed the temporary delay is "not putting our lives in danger."

"It was not the ideal situation. We want everybody trained," he said.

The officers who received the first two weeks of training got the basics, Flagg said. He said they will not be placed in critical posts but will be assigned to be with a "seasoned officer."

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