Now hiring: Correctional officers across Texas

Hays

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Hays County is hiring more than a dozen correctional officers, with dozens more positions set to open up soon.

They’re trying to staff the new jail, which is set to open in May of 2020.

It will be able to hold 236 more inmates than the current jail.

Right now, there are 15 open positions for correctional officers.

The court still needs a budget for 35 more.

Hiring and retention are problems the state is seeing across it’s prisons, too.

“I wouldn’t even suggest it’s statewide, I think that it’s nationwide,” says Jeremy Desel with the Texas Criminal Justice Department.

They’ve been facing a shortage for 18 months now, even after offering a new incentive about a year ago.

“On the recruitment side of things, we’ve initiated $4,000 and $5,000 signing bonuses,” Desel says.

Hiring those officers isn’t the only problem — it’s trying to keep them, too.

“We were able to get approved by the legislature some changes in the career ladder structure and allow people to progress more quickly through the promotional ranks,” Desel says.

Over in Caldwell County, a spokesperson says they are fully staffed but they have a problem with retention, having to find new correctional officers every couple of years.

The goal, Sgt. William Miller says, is to keep an officer for three or more years.

“Whether it’s police, whether it’s corrections, everybody seems to be telling the same tale, is recruitment and retention is an A, number one priority and difficulty across the board,” Desel says.

Hays County currently sends inmates to other jails to help alleviate overcrowding.

The goal with the new facility is to stop outsourcing.

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