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Despite job fairs and "Now hiring" signs hanging on prison doors, the state of Florida can't seem to convince anyone to work in its correctional facilities.
Right now, the state is short staffed by almost 10%, meaning there are nearly 2,500 vacant positions for correctional officers in Florida, reports WCTV
Part of the problem is the starting salary for a correctional officer is a mere $29,000. Low pay, combined with poor training and a high-stress environment result in a massive turnover rate of 30%.
“Right now they are working twelve hour shifts plus another four. We are working them to death because of the vacancy rate," said Corrections Secretary Julie Jones to WCTV. "I don’t have time to train them.”
According to Florida Politics
, the turnover rate is so bad, that in some prisons the most senior officer has only been employed for 2 years.
Considering the Florida Department of Corrections
is the third largest state prison system in the country, with approximately 98,000 inmates incarcerated, this is not a good situation to be in.
Florida already spends a colossal $2.4 billion a year on its prison system, which is the third largest in the country. This is partially due to the fact that it costs $18,064 a year per inmate, according to the Florida Department of Corrections
Back in December, Florida Gov. Rick Scott proposed a 5% pay increase
for Florida law enforcement, but not correctional officers. In response to this, Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, said to the Tampa Bay Times
, "Corrections officers are the most glaring problem we have in the state as far as pay right now. Often times, counties are offering signing bonuses and higher pay to lure corrections officers away from state prisons. I think corrections officers are the No. 1 need we have as far as more resources."