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Nevada Struggles To Find Guards For Rural Prisons

State officials have declared a critical labor shortage as they struggle to fill prison guard positions in rural Nevada.

The Nevada Board of Examiners voted Tuesday to approve the designation, which allows the state to hire back retirees without adversely affecting their public employee pensions.

Corrections officials say labor shortages have been going on for years as prisons in places like Ely struggle to compete with well-paid mining jobs. More than 100 of the state's 522 rural corrections officer positions were vacant at the end of January.

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Scott Sisco of the Nevada Department of Corrections said higher salaries would help attract people to the jobs.

But board members noted state law enforcement jobs are tough to fill, especially because the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is hiring and pays better.