- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska corrections officials are awarding $500 retention bonuses to prison employees who work in jobs with high turnover and vacancy rates.

The Department of Correctional Services announced the bonuses Tuesday as part of its efforts to recruit and retain workers.

Department spokeswoman Dawn-Renee Smith says the bonuses will go to roughly 1,000 of the department’s 2,300 employees, including officers, caseworkers, nurses, mental health practitioners and chemical dependency counselors. Employees will receive the bonuses on Sept. 14.

Prison officials have been trying to improve working conditions in the department amid complaints about staffing shortages and inmate assaults.

A legislative committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss staffing issues in the prisons. The union representing prison employees is set to begin negotiations for a new contract later this year.

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