Hiring events at state prisons aims to boost officer ranks

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota has been holding employment fairs at state prisons with the aim of hiring more correctional officers.

The Legislature has provided $10 million to the Minnesota Department of Corrections to employ 78 new officers, including 67 in 2019.

Organizers of the events at correctional facilities in Stillwater and Oak Park Heights say they want to expedite the hiring process, potentially assessing, interviewing and hiring new staff in just days.

Before the fairs, Minnesota had 1,969 correctional officers overseeing more than 9,300 inmates in 10 facilities, with 40 vacancies.

Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell says expanding the workforce will mitigate the dangers associated with the job

Greg Thompson, a truck driver from Ellsworth, Wisconsin, attended the event at Stillwater. He said he wanted to find a new role and purpose.

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