By: Katie Jones
Illinois' prisons are getting a little safer. The department of corrections has hired 135 new correctional officers. They'll replace the more than 200 guards who've left the job this year.
So will the hires help the East Moline Correctional Center? Workers said its extra eyes on a scary situation. The EMCC got 12 of the new cadets but workers say their staff is still dangerously outnumbered. 165 to more than 1400, that's what AFSCME Local 46 President Gregg Johnson said EMCC guards go up against and when inmates act out he said workers have their hands full.
"It's a very intimidating situation for anybody the first time something like this happens and unfortunately they're occurring more on a daily basis than ever before," Johnson said.
Johnson said the new cadets will add manpower and cut–down on overtime costs but they're replacing veteran officers. "Our staff is wonderful at what they do but when you start losing multitudes of people with 25 plus years, you're losing a lot of experience," Johnson said.
He said the IDOC needs to bring in at least 30 more guards and stop packing inmates into the EMCC to keep our community safe. "Hiring all the staff but continuing to pack inmates into these facilities in just not a healthy environment for anybody," Johnson said.
Johnson said he hopes the IDOC will bring more cadets to the EMCC to help staffing concerns but isn't sure when that will happen.