ST. PAUL (AP) -- Minnesota's legislative auditor says the safety of inmates and staff at the state's prisons has suffered due to chronic shortages of correctional officers and an increasing reliance on overtime.

The audit was prompted by a spike in assaults by prisoners against staff that peaked in 2018 but has since declined.

The report blamed high turnover for the shortage of correctional officers.

Because of those shortages, the department almost quadrupled its use of overtime for officers between 2014 and 2019. Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell, who took office in January 2019, says he fully concurs with the auditors' findings and recommendations.

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