Employees at state prisons in Brazoria County will be relatively unaffected by recent changes in compensation for overtime, Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials said.

The 2,572 Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees at the county’s six prisons will receive extra time-and-a-half off from work instead of cash payments for the first 240 hours of overtime worked. Any overtime hours above 240 will be paid.

TDCJ will be reverting for the next budget year to the old system, which the agency abandoned in late 1999 for the cash pay plan. But the cash plan cost the agency $32.2 million in 2001, $36.1 million in 2002 and $22 million this budget year.

Only about 16 percent of TDCJ employees, or 3,900 of the 24,000 employees statewide, worked overtime in the latest quarter of this budget year, according to TDCJ statistics. Almost half of the 3,900 worked eight hours or less and received an average of only $43 a month in overtime pay, according to those statistics.

Although the agency has a statewide shortage of about 2,200 officers, the change should not put an added burden on prison guards and parole officers, said TDCJ spokesman Larry Todd.

“Prison security has not been compromised,” Todd said.

Richard Trinci, warden of the Wayne Scott Unit in Angleton, said the TDCJ employees at his prison rarely work overtime and have not grown to rely on overtime pay.

Trinci said that within the last month, the 320 employees at his unit did not work in excess of 20 hours overtime among them. The overtime they did work was for special medical transports, he said.

Because of the small of overtime worked, Trinci said he does not expect the payment change to greatly affect employees.

“The only thing it will do is instead of getting checks for overtime, they will bank the overtime for time-and-a-half off,” Trinci said.

Trinci said in relation to other TDCJ facilities, Wayne Scott is in pretty good shape since they are 90 percent staffed.

The state prisons in Brazoria County include the Wayne Scott, Darrington, Ramsey I, Ramsey II, Terrell and Clemens units.

Officials at the other prison units declined comment.

Bridie Isensee is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at (979) 265-7411, Ext. 286.

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