California Prison System Hiring 7,000 New Officers

California is being proactive when it comes to ensuring that the correctional facilities of the California Department of Corrections are being properly staffed, both now and over the next 3 years.

The California Department of Corrections recently announced its plans to hire more than 7,000 prison officers over the next 3 years as to prepare for upcoming vacancies caused by, among a number of things, looming retirements.

The DOC has about 25,000 fewer inmates throughout its 34 prisons, thanks to a program enacted in 2011 that it sending many more inmates to local jails. However, the DOC is also averaging about 150 retirements each month (or about 1,800 every year), which will soon begin having an effect on employee numbers. There are about 28,500 full-time employees within the DOC, according to the California Department of Human Resources.

Preparing for the Future Now

However, because California’s application and hiring process is quite slow, by most accounts, the DOC is being proactive and starting to hire applicants to fill future positions. The hiring process is quite grueling, as it involves the completion of:

  • Background investigation
  • Drug testing
  • Physical fitness test
  • Pre-employment medical examination
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Qualifications assessment
  • Vision screening
  • Written test

Once this process has been completed, new hires must complete the DOC’s 16-week academy. In total, this process often takes up to a year to complete.

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Individuals seeking correctional officer positions in California’s DOC must be at least 20 years old (21 by the time of appointment), and they must be able to show proof of U.S. citizenship and a high school diploma. Further, all candidates must be able to legally own, possess and control a firearm or similar weapons authorized by the DOC and must have no felony convictions on record.

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