- Associated Press - Monday, July 7, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Alabama’s prison system paid $20.8 million in overtime last year, with 14 percent going to one prison.

Al.com (https://bit.ly/1zkpZ6X ) reports that employees of Donaldson Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in Jefferson County, received about $2.9 million in overtime pay. That averages about $8,873 per employee.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Kristi Gates said the prison system uses overtime to supplement chronic staffing shortages. Gates said Donaldson prison has 8.4 inmates for every one officer. The overtime pay reduces the ratio to 6.9.

Donaldson, which houses many repeat offenders, traditionally has the most overtime of any prison. In 2003, it led the state at $2.4 million, or about 16 percent of the overtime paid by the Department of Corrections that year.

St. Clair Correctional Facility in St. Clair County was second on the total overtime list last year at $1.7 million. That worked out to an average of $5,869 per employee.

Bullock Correctional Facility in Bullock County was third at $1.6 million. That averaged $7,736 per employee.

Retired corrections employee David Wise, who worked at Donaldson for six months in 1987, told al.com that Donaldson has a reputation for being “extremely rough” and being a stressful place to work.

Wise, who later served as deputy warden at Limestone Correctional Facility in Limestone County, said it is one of the best big prisons to work in and “the best place in Alabama” to serve time because it has lower security inmates who work in a cattle and farming operation and are preparing for re-entry into society. Its employees received $1.1 million in overtime last year, or $2,857 per employee. That was the lowest amount per employee at any major Alabama prison.

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