DOC Commissioner Tells Lawmakers That Staffing Crisis At “Very, Very, Very Dangerous Point”

July 20, 2021

VTDigger posted a story this week about a recent hearing that was scheduled by lawmakers to address the staffing crisis inside Vermont’s correctional facilities. Needless to say, VSEA and its Corrections members welcomed the opportunity to warn lawmakers and the public (again) just how bad working conditions are these days. This time, however, they were joined in sounding the alarm by DOC Commissioner James Baker.

From the VTDigger story:

James Baker, interim corrections commissioner, testified late last week before the Joint Legislative Justice Oversight Committee on steps the department is taking to address the problem, from stepping up recruitment to working for better retention of current employees.

“We’re at a very, very, very dangerous point,” the commissioner told the panel. The committee is made up of a mix of House and Senate members and met in-person at the Statehouse with the session also streamed online.


Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, an oversight committee member, said he hoped to see a bump in salary to help attract people to the job.

“I appreciate the problem. It’s not just with corrections,” Sears said of the staffing shortage. “But that’s a tough job, and hopefully we will consider upgrades to pay and working conditions.”

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