Violent prison in West Virginia plagued by officer shortages and overtime

195bf117 68b2 4a0c 98ca 06e3fb551ff8 AP Whitey Bulger Funeral

A federal prison complex in West Virginia, cited in a scathing December Department of Justice report on the murder of mob boss Whitey Bulger, is facing the most acute shortage of corrections officers of any facility in the seriously understaffed federal system.

The 72 officer vacancies at Hazelton Prison represent more than 16% of the total staff, forcing mandatory overtime shifts several times a week, according to agency records. And the understaffing persists even as officers at the compound, long considered one of the department’s most violent facilities, recently recovered a surprising number of weapons.

During a shift this month, 30 knives were seized, including seven linked to a single detainee, officials said. Days later, officers recovered makeshift bulletproof vests padded with magazine rolls, along with a dozen more knives.

DOJ Watchdog:Prison Staff Failures Preceded Whitey Bulger’s Murder

The gun busts are the biggest in recent memory, according to officials who warn that the rising threat of violence combined with crippling officer fatigue represents a crisis in the making.

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