Despite a series of efforts, the Florida Department of Corrections is still facing a significant staffing shortage. The agency’s vacancy rates have more than doubled in the last year.
In 2016, the vacancies among Florida’s correctional officers was around 6.5 percent. Prison Chief Julie Jones says it’s now at about 13.2 percent.
“We have not made any strides in any vacancies or in tenure, since the last report that I gave to the legislature,” she said, speaking to members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Wednesday. “So, it’s really important to get this pay raise and have our officer see the entire pay raise in their paycheck. They’ve been very weary.”
Last year, Jones says the legislature funded and the Governor approved a targeted, partial pay increase for correctional officers, that just went into effect this month. Jones says she’s hopeful that will have a positive impact, so it can help her agency retain more experienced officers as well as attract new recruits.
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