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TDCJ Is Seeing a Shortage of Correctional Officers

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The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is seeing a shortage of correctional officers statewide. For the past several months, current TDCJ officers are having to work extra shifts and overtime to make up for that shortage.

Mike Viesca, with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice says the economy is improving.

"So our agency has to compete with other employers for people so when you have that situation its gonna be a little bit harder to fill those positions" adds Viesca.

The Hamilton Unit in Bryan has a shortage of six officers...but that's not the case in other parts of the state. Prisons' in the Panhandle, East Texas and South Texas have the highest vacancy numbers.

In November, a decision was made to suspend the physical agility test required for a correctional officer to take...in order to ensure that staffing and security needs continue to be met.

There are about 2500 vacancies statewide..although that number may seem high, but its actually improved over the last few years thanks to aggressive recruiting efforts.

"That's where we give people who are interested in an opportunity to come in, talk to a recruiter, find out what the job entails and one of the best selling points for working for the agency is the benefits you get." says Viesca.

The elimination of the required physical agility test is a move Viesca thinks could lead to more applicants and an end to the staffing shortage.