MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Some of Alabama’s prisons have faced scrutiny for overcrowding, violence and lack of staffing.
“Our big thing is we just need boots on the ground inside of our prisons,” said Matthew Brand, the ADOC assistant commissioner.
The department has just 42 percent of the correctional officers it needs, according to ADOC data provided in July.
Sixty-one officers graduated as ADOC certified correctional officers Friday. These officers are the first of a new class of officers the department has created called Basic Correctional Officers.
Basic correctional officers will watch inmates, conduct searches and help with education. Prior to this group, officers go through the Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission.
Basic correctional officers will not transport inmates, handle firearms, or work in prison towers because they are not APOST certified.
The department created this new certification process and said it will help speed up the hiring process.
“It’s quicker. We can hire more officers that way,” Brand said. “Little bit different of entrance requirements to broaden that pool of people that we’re able to hire.”
The Alabama Department of Corrections is faced with hiring thousands more officers after a federal judge required it. The U.S. Department of Justice is also threatening to sue the state, alleging that the state is violating the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The court has told ADOC to hire 1,800 to 2,000 correctional officers by 2022.