- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Sixty tower guard positions in 10 Wisconsin prisons would be eliminated under a vote by the Legislature’s budget committee.

The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday went along with Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to reduce third-shift tower guard staffing. The cuts will save the state about $5.9 million over the next two years.

Department of Corrections officials say anyone currently filling those positions would be moved into other vacancies.

Corrections officials defend reducing staffing in the towers, saying there’s been only two inmate escape attempts during third shift over the last 20 years. They say they can maintain third-shift security using technology and perimeter patrols instead of tower guards.

Democrats on the budget committee questioned whether safety would be compromised by the cuts.

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