Do you want to know where you can be a correctional officer? Somerset County has the answer


When a company hires 17 new employees and leaves 20 in the same month, the prognosis is not rosy.

If the company is a government agency and one of the largest employers in the province, those stats are even more dire.

County Human Resources Director Jodi Lepley discussed county jail staffing statistics with the Somerset County Prison Board on Tuesday. The Somerset County Jail appears to be one of the most vulnerable county entities to back and forth with hirings and terminations, along with Children & Youth Services.

To put the numbers in perspective, there are now one full-time and seven part-time correctional officers positions open, and that number changes frequently, but rarely less in number. Meanwhile, there were 81 inmates in jail on Tuesday. However, that number is always in flex, even on the same day that inmates are released or transferred to state facilities or imprisoned to serve a sentence, or placed there in lieu of bail. The daily average for the county facility’s inmate population for July is 97. The highest number of inmates fell in the middle of the month with 107 incarcerated, according to Deputy Director Brian Pelesky.

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The need for constant and well-trained staff is therefore crucial, according to the provincial prison management.

“We have a constant churn, as everyone at this table knows,” said Commissioner Pamela Tokar-Ickes, who also chairs the provincial prison board. Joining her on the board are Somerset County President Judge D. Gregory Geary, Commissioners Gerald Walker and Colleen Dawson, Sheriff Dustin Weir and Acting District Attorney Molly Metzgar.

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She called the statistics on prison staff turnover “very startling.”

“The reality here is the backyard of the two state facilities. It’s just hard for us to do. Once we hire someone, we’ve trained a little bit, we lose people to the state system. It’s a challenge that we try anyway to solve,” she said.

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Four corrections officers were sent to Elizabethtown, which has a corrections academy, for a staff trainer program. A two-day weapons training course was held in July, Pelesky said.

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“One day there was a classroom about how to use the gun and all that,” Pelesky said. “And we also used a new system where you use a regular rifle, but it has a laser bullet in its target, so for the newer personnel who haven’t handled a weapon before we did laser training, just to familiarize them with the rifle. ” Eight correction officers qualified the next day.

“We are looking for more,” he said.

Anyone interested in corrections can contact Lepley or other officials at 814-445-1500, the main provincial government.

“Not just for today, but five years from now, our workforce here will be critical,” said Tokar-Ickes.

This article originally appeared on The Daily American: Somerset County hires prison guards


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