ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Correctional facilities across the country have reported recent staffing shortages. Here in the Stateline, jails are hiring correctional officers.
We made the rounds at the Winnebago county jail today to see what the job entails.
Jared Smith is a corrections officer in Winnebago County. He says their biggest challenge is staffing–both hiring and maintaining officers.
“That kinda trickles down to everyone whether, like the sheriff said, it’s forced overtime or we’re having to do more duties that you’re picking up from the staff we don’t have,” Smith said.
If they can’t fill the positions, he says lockdowns could be a reality.
“That puts more work on the officer to do more work – that also adds the stress to the inmates of being ‘hey we’re already in jail, we don’t like it here, and now we’re confined to our cell,” Smith explained.
Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana says they are down around 6 officers.
Right now we are and we’re taking applications and we wanna get that right person who again has that zeal that wants to get involved with the community – it’s a great place to start with the community,” said Sheriff Caruana.
Sheriff Gary Caruana actually started his career as a corrections officer.
“I think it’s a great career especially if you’re thinking about a career in corrections and or law enforcement. It’s a great place to start,” Sheriff Caruana said.
He says the position offers advancement opportunities and good benefits but does come with challenges.
“The specific challenge would probably be dealing with the multi personalities of the inmates and their frustrations while they’re here – again, they’re incarcerated and that’s not always a fun place to be,” the sheriff said.
Officer Smith tells us having consistent familiar staff makes the day go by smoother.
“People working the same post and with the same inmates – you kinda build a good – you know there is rapport and there is trust there,” Smith said.
Smith adds that the most rewarding part of the job is seeing people not return to jail. For more details on how to apply, click here.