MDOC seeks to hire correctional officers

From The Mississippi Link Newswire

JACKSON – The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) is seeking to hire 105 more correctional officers by the end of the year.

The latest classes began Wednesday, Aug. 1, at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman (MSP) with 44 trainees, 31 at South Mississippi Correctional Institution (SMCI) and 25 Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF).

“We are not just looking to hire but to offer individuals a career,” said Corrections Commissioner Christopher B. Epps, who started at Parchman in 1982 as a correctional officer. “In addition to promotional opportunities, the benefits include low cost medical and life insurances, paid training and enrollment in the state retirement system.”

Training academies are monthly. Preparations already are under way for the next session. Interviewing and screening will be Tuesday Aug. 14 at CMCF.

Aside from turnovers, resignations and retirements, the demand for more correctional officers continues as the prison population is beginning to show an increase. MDOC gained 402 inmates in fiscal 2011 and 613 so far during fiscal 2012. Mississippi is the second in the nation behind Louisiana in the number of people per capita incarcerated.

To be a correctional officer, you must be 18 years of age, possess a valid driver’s license, a Social Security card, have no felony conviction and have proof of a high school diploma or G.E.D.

Applicants also undergo a math quiz and report writing and physical agility exercise, including completing a one mile run or walk within 30 minutes.

In addition to the academy training, trainees get four weeks of on-the-job training at an assigned correctional facility. The starting pay is $1,833.80 per month.

MDOC currently has an estimated 1,704 correctional officers, of which approximately 64 percent are female.

Applicants can apply online from the Mississippi Department of Corrections website, or the Mississippi State Personnel Board website, or by contacting the Personnel Services Division (601) 359-5696 to receive a paper application.