DOC Says Virginia Prisons Are Experiencing Worst Personnel Crisis on History, Seeks to Improve Recruitment and Retention | State and regional news



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His current job as a ministry recruiter for correctional officers is perhaps the most difficult he has faced. While a $ 6,000 signing bonus is offered to new hires, barriers to hiring include low unemployment in Virginia and higher wages offered at many regional jails and sheriff and police departments. .

But Streat hopes a turning point has been made with the recent end of improved federal unemployment benefits. At the start of a career fair near Deerfield Correctional Center in Capron on Tuesday, more than 60 people had registered in advance to attend.

“This is more than what we have seen in the past six to eight months,” he said.

Of those who applied, 23 applicants showed up and at the end of the two-day job fair – where applicants were interviewed, subjected to criminal background checks, drug tests and medical examinations – all 23 have been hired, he said.

If a bend has been taken, it may be just in time. “This is the worst personnel crisis the department has ever seen,” said Lisa Kinney, spokesperson for the department.

Figures available from DOC show that the turnover is high. As of June of this year, 30% of security personnel had been in the state for two years or less and 53% for five years or less.

From July 2017 to May 2020, the average monthly number of vacancies for security personnel was 668. When the pandemic struck, the number of vacancies increased by an average of 56 per month to reach 1,390 in June and 1 621 Friday. The number of vacancies was highest in the central and eastern regions of the department, officials said.

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