ST. PAUL (AP) -- The Minnesota Department of Corrections almost doubled the overtime it paid prison staff in the past year because of a chronic staff shortage.

The state's DOC data shows it paid $12.3 million for more than 262,000 hours of overtime during fiscal year 2019. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that's up from the year before when the DOC paid $6.9 million of overtime for 150,000 hours.

State Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell says the agency increased its overtime use after two officers died last year. Corrections officer Joseph Gomm was allegedly bludgeoned to death by an inmate in Stillwater prison in July 2018. Officer Joe Parise died during a medical emergency two months later while responding to an attack on a colleague at Oak Park Heights.

The DOC had 113 officer vacancies as of Sept. 17.

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