Alabama's prison system paid $20.8 million in overtime last year, with 14 percent going to one prison.
Al.com reports that employees of Donaldson Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in Jefferson County, received about $2.9 million in overtime pay. That averages about $8,873 per employee.
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Kristi Gates says the prison system uses overtime to supplement chronic staffing shortages. Gates says Donaldson prison has 8.4 inmates for every one officer. The overtime pay reduces the ratio to 6.9.
Alabama's prison system is getting dozens of new officers, but officials say it's still badly understaffed.
The Department of Corrections is holding a graduation ceremony in Selma on Thursday for 70 new correctional officers. It's the first of three corrections classes planned for this year at the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center.
But department spokesman Brian Corbett says the agency loses more than 20 officers a month through attrition, so the new officers only make up for three months of normal turnover.