Atmore, AL (WKRG)
A “we’re hiring” sign from the department of corrections sits on the highway leading to Holman Prison. Former corrections officers say that’s sometimes a threat. They claim sometimes, if you call in sick, you could be threatened with termination.
A DOC spokesman confirms a number of officers called in over the weekend. Former CO Curt Stidham says about six officers called in for the last three days, representing about half the officers who are supposed to be on duty.
“It caused wardens, commissioners have to come in and work that just shows they’re not above having to be mandated themselves, said former Corrections Officer Curt Stidham. There may be unintended consequences for the corrections officers who are calling in, that puts an additional burden on the CO’s who are coming in day after day.
“You wouldn’t want to sit in a cage full of bears on a lack of sleep and try to pay attention,” said Stidham. A Corrections spokesman says they’ve called in officers from other facility to make up the difference. Stidham says it’s common for officers to be compelled to work a 16 hour day instead of just 12 when not everyone shows up. Longer workdays compound a common problem for CO’s—PTSD.
“You’re no longer able to communicate the way you’re used to because you’re giving orders and had to be in fear for so long,” said Stidham talking about his struggles with mental health following his prison career.
It’s not clear if this form of protest is making a difference. State officials have asked the legislature to approve a massive prison building program but there’s been little traction.