Short-Staffed Prison Offers Free Room and Board, Raises, Transportation

BESSEMER, Ala. – In an effort lure personnel to the short-staffed Donaldson Prison, the Alabama Department of Corrections is offering pay raises and free room and board to correctional officers who agree to work at the facility for six months.

The prison is overcrowded with more than 1,500 inmates residing in the facility built to house 992 prisoners. The prison houses some of the state’s toughest inmates and is about 40 officers short of its 244 authorized staffing level. As part of the new program prison officials are offering new officers housing in a dormitory-style building that used to house inmates, located about 25 miles from the prison. The building has been refurbished and officers that live there will also receive free meals and transportation to work. A 5 percent pay raise is given to those that participate in the program.

Donaldson Prison, which houses death row prisoners, was originally called West Jefferson Correctional Facility when it opened in 1982, but it was renamed after William E. Donaldson, who was fatally stabbed by an inmate in 1990.