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Union Leader Says Overtime at Root of Prison Problems

TECUMSEH, Neb. (AP) — A union leader representing Nebraska correctional officers says a prison with a history of deadly riots would see less violence if employees didn't have to work as much overtime.

The executive director of the Nebraska Association of Public Employees, Mike Marvin, says workers are forced to stay on the job for overtime shifts at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution because of staffing shortages. He says that as a result, many employees are tired and less alert when threats arise.

Marvin says the staffing shortages have persisted because the Department of Correctional Services isn't paying enough to keep experienced employees. Some leave for better-paying jobs in county jails.

Corrections director Scott Frakes has acknowledged that overtime is a problem for the department, even though it's commonly used.