In Selma Alabama, another class of correctional officer trainees graduated this week and will be assigned to posts at prisons and work release facilities throughout the state. A graduation ceremony was held at the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center Auditorium and Chief Sheriff’s Deputy of Montgomery County Derrick Cunningham will be the keynote and commencement speaker.
The previous class graduated in April of this year and consisted of 82 men and women who also were given work assignments almost immediately upon graduation. All of the classes at the Academy each consist of a 480-hour training program spread out over 12 weeks. The training consists of an even combination of Classroom instruction, Defensive tactics, and physical conditioning.
The training that trainees undergo is geared toward standards put in place by the State of Alabama for becoming a peace officer. When trainees graduate, the Alabama Peace Officers Standards Training Commission certifies their new role as corrections officers.
There has been an unprecedented shortage of correctional officers throughout the United States and according to state officials, particular importance is placed on the training programs that these officers endure in order to maintain good morale and encourage others to consider a career in corrections. A report released in January by the US Department of Justice indicated that state prisons around the country are experiencing staffing levels that are “dangerously low.” Despite the limited resources, prison facilities in Alabama and around the country have staffing requirements that must be met.
The ratio of inmates to security officers in Alabama state prisons is about 11-to-1 which is a far cry from the national average which is currently about 5-to-1. Therefore, recruitment tactics throughout the state have intensified.
Despite the extra effort to meet the staffing requirements, the challenge is difficult to overcome if for no other reason than the fact that each new officer must be recruited and trained, the cumulative process of which takes several months.