The AFSCME state employees union is demanding the State of Minnesota hire 327 new corrections officers and 75 to 100 other employees, which they say are necessary to keep prisons safe. Union policy committee president John Hillyard said shortly after Officer Joseph Gomm was killed by an inmate at Stillwater prison, “We have been going to the legislature every year for a decade now,… asking for more correctional officers. Now we are demanding it.”
AFSCME officials say they’ll also continue opposing a plan to re-open the now-empty privately-owned prison in Appleton. Local officials have been pushing hard for the project, arguing it will bring much-needed jobs to that area. The state legislature goes back into session in January.
Two corrections officers have died in Minnesota’s prisons this year and union officials say dozens more have been assaulted by inmates. Corrections Officer Gomm was killed in July. Officer Joseph Parise died in late September shortly after helping stop an inmate attack on another corrections officer at Oak Park Heights.