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Del. targeting high schoolers for careers in prisons

The state has more than 250 vacant CO positions and could soon spend more than $30 million in overtime


By CorrectionsOne Staff

DOVER, Del. — Delaware is targeting high schools to try to find applicants to work as COs as the state struggles with staff shortages.

The Associated Press reports that the state has more than 250 vacant CO positions and could soon spend more than $30 million in overtime. In response to the shortages, the state will hold its first-ever youth academy in July.

The academy is open to students as young as sophomores and offers a free three-day crash course on criminal justice and what officers do inside prisons. Students who complete the program will be certified in CPR and first aid, and be able to search a cell and practice contraband seizure.

The brainchild of the academy, Jennifer Biddle, said about 20 students will be selected, according to the Delaware State News.

“We’re looking for students already interested in a law enforcement career to apply, maybe some currently in criminal justice pathways in their schools,” Biddle, who serves as chief of administrative services, said.

Biddle hopes the academy will increase the number of DOC applicants who are fresh out of high school. Applicants who want to work for the DOC must be at least 19 and a half. 

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