Nov 6, 2015 7:13 PM

NH1 News Investigates UPDATE: Pricey Prisons

CONCORD - The Department of Corrections graduated a small class of six new corrections officers Friday, meanwhile, the department continues to struggle with skyrocketing mandatory overtime.

"We're averaging about 100 vacancies overall," said Commissioner Bill Wrenn.

In March, NH1 News investigated the prison overtime struggles, finding required overtime shifts in many cases doubled corrections officers' initial salaries.

The program is selective, Wrenn said.

"We're looking for the quality officer, not neccessarily big numbers. We want somebody that can really do the job."

In 2014, overtime exceeded $8.1 million.

The 2015 overtime projection is $8.6 million, more than twice the budget for this fiscal year.

Commissioner Wrenn and Gov. Maggie Hassan said the solution is recruitment and retraining.

"One thing we have really focused on is increasing our recruitment activity," Hassan said. "We've also worked at lessening the overtime challenge by re-certifying some of our parole and probation officers who were once corrections officers."

Adding to the staff shortage, according to prison officials, 55 people are eligible for retirement this year.

NH1 News will continue to track this issue.

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