The Lexington facility is not unique in that it is dealing with a shortage of correctional officers. The facility is authorized to employ 196 officers, but it has only 98 on staff. Officers and advocates have voiced concerns in recent years that the low officer staffing levels present a safety hazard for prison workers. Right now, only about 60 percent of positions in prisons statewide are filled.
In late December, a female case worker at the Joseph Harp Correctional Center, immediately east of the Lexington center, was assaulted by an inmate. She and one guard were alone in a unit with 160 prisoners.