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Thousands of prison jobs go unfilled

January 8th, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

 

Governor Rick Scott is the JOBS Governor, claiming more than 1.2 million new jobs since taking office, but as many as 2500 jobs remain open in one state agency with no takers.

“Submit the application on line” one applicant was told.

The Department of Corrections has held job fairs.

“You say they do training?”  asked on applicant. “Yes mam” was the response

There are “now hiring” signs out side every prison, and on many of the departments vehicles.

Still the agency has a vacancy rate of ten percent, forcing officers to work long hours.  the problem, a 29 thousand dollar starting salary.

Corrections Secretary Julie Jones knows she has a problem.

“Right now they are working twelve hour shifts plus another four. We are working them to death because of the vacancy rate. I don’t have time to train them” says Jones.

It’s not just vacancies, but sky-high turnover as well. Jones told lawmakers the turnover rate was just under 30 percent this  year. She is asking for higher pay and signing bonuses. Making them reality could be a problem. Senate Prison Budget Chair Aaron Bean ( R-Jacksonville) says turning it around isn’’t going to be easy.

“Going from 30 to 33 leaves a lot to be desired, but its a step in the right direction” Bean told us.

Because of the high turnover rate, the most experienced officers in some prisons have just two years experience.”

The inexperience may have lead to at least six major disturbances over conditions this past year say Jones.

“We have a lot of people who can calm down an inmate, but we don;t have enough of them, and we don;’t have them everywhere we should have them.”

Prisons were shortchanged during the recession and lawmakers cut taxes during the recovery. Now they say there is not enough to make ends meet, which will leave the Department of Corrections at the bottom of the heap again.

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