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Utah Corrections Dept. Launches Campaign to Fill Staff Vacancies

Courtesy photo
Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison

The Utah Department of Corrections currently has a staffing shortage, and officials say they are launching a huge hiring campaign to fill more than 160 vacant positions.

Public Information Officer Brooke Adams the department is looking to hire 60 people for a new housing unit at the correctional facility in Gunnison, but there are also more than 100 ongoing positions that need to be filled.

“I think that when the economy is good, it gets tougher for correctional departments to attract people and hire people, and that’s not only true here in Utah, that’s true across the country,” Adams says. “You know, law enforcement is under scrutiny, and that can make some challenges too in trying to attract people to this profession.”

Adams says wages start at $16.67 an hour with full benefits, training, and tuition assistance programs, but she says the department tends to lose people to other opportunities.

“Many correctional officers will start their careers here, and then later move on to other agencies that might pay a little more,” Adams says. “So that’s a big focus for us - trying to get our pay more in line and more competitive with some of the counties surrounding us.”

Utah lawmakers are currently debating moving the prison from Draper to a new community, but Adams says the Department is focused for now on filling current staffing needs. She says she doesn’t know whether the prospect of a move is deterring candidates.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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