Local News

'It's been very difficult.' Recruiters looking to fill hundreds of vacant correctional officer positions at state prisons

Posted October 27, 2021 11:19 p.m. EDT
Updated October 28, 2021 11:36 a.m. EDT

— The state Department of Public Safety says the state's prisons need more corrections officers, and vacancies are not where they should be.

On Thursday, DPS will have its first virtual hiring events. Correctional officer positions need to be filled, including at Central Prison in Raleigh, but so do other important roles.

"It's been very difficult," said Daniel Hill, the recruitment staffing manager at DPS.

Hill said his team of recruiters has gone to military bases, colleges or anywhere else they can to try to fill vacant positions.

"There's nine of them out in the field," he said. "It's all we talk about. It's all we think about. It's all we work toward every day that we're working."

With pay being an issue, Hill said there are hundreds of vacant positions open, but correctional officer jobs are the ones DPS needs filled most urgently. Currently, there is a vacancy rate around 25 percent for the position in state prisons.

Central Prison also needs medical staff, such as nurses and medical technicians.

"Staffing has been an issue for a number of years now – at least the last five or six," said DPS spokesman John Bull.

Bull said the open positions are good jobs working with good people, but it is a dangerous position.

"While these can be stressful positions, and these are positions that require dedication to it, the level of violence is something you would hear out of movies," he said.

Some of the main requirements of becoming a correction officer include being at least 20 years old, having a high school diploma or GED, being a U.S. citizen and attending a six-week training course.

"You're serving the public. You're working with offenders, but you can make a difference in their lives as well," said Hill.

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