Staffing shortages prompt closure of Waupun prison hall, transfer of inmates

Coronavirus

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin corrections officials are closing part of the Waupun prison and transferring inmates to other facilities as they deal with staffing shortages exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Department of Corrections said Tuesday it is closing a cell hall at the maximum-security Waupun Correctional Institution and sending its 220 inmates to other prisons.

Corrections officials say the transfers will reduce the prison’s overall population by 20% and help address staff vacancies.

The state prison system has historically struggled with staffing vacancies, but the problem has worsened with COVID-19. The DOC says that since the start of the pandemic, 119 Waupun staff have self-reported testing positive for COVID-19.

Earlier this month, Wisconsin prisons reported a spike in coronavirus cases. Six prisons, including Oshkosh Correctional, were reporting more than 100 active cases.

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