Prison Guards Quitting Year After Training

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Last year the state of Tennessee spent more than $1.25 million to train correction officers for prisons.




However, about half of those officers have already quit, wasting about $600,000 in taxpayer training money.


The maximum security section of a prison is not a place to make a mistake.


Robert Mosley was distracted by one inmate while another inmate slashed him, causing wounds that resulted in 59 stitches.


“I had a little too much trust at the time,” said Mosely. “A lot of people have no idea about the assaults, the verbal abuse. It takes a special person to come here and stay with the job.”


In the state of Tennessee, a prison guard’s starting salary is $12 an hour.


Last year, the state graduated more than 1,200 officers at a training rate of $10,000 person. As of Nov. 26, 49 percent had quit within the year.


Some have suggested making any correction officer who doesn’t stay a full year pay back the $10,000 training fee.


Deputy Commissioner Gayle Ray hopes the sagging economy will make some reconsider the positions. She cites that the pay may be low, but the benefits are outstanding and the job, albeit difficult, is important to the state.


The state is attempting to do a better job of training correction officers to help rehabilitate prisoners. The Department of Corrections continues to try to increase starting pay and raises for correction officers, but the current budget is making that very unlikely



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