Ill. House passes bill aimed at helping correctional officer shortage

The bill would allow those interested in a CO job to apply if they have an associate's degree


By Sarah Calams

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ill. — A new bill hopes to turn around a correctional officer shortage in Illinois.

State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) introduced a bill that he believes will help bring in more recruits after hearing about the lack of applicants at the Youth Detention Center in Benton, WSILTV.com reported.

"A supervisor at the Youth Detention Center reached out to me stating the concern they had of not having enough staff," Severin said. The bill would allow those interested in a correctional officer job to apply if they have an associate's degree instead of a previously required bachelor's degree. However, new hires, Severin said, would get special training to work as correctional officers.

The bill is now in the Senate – a hurdle Severin says he hopes to clear in a week or two.

"I had two representatives from the other side of the aisle get on the bill," Severin said. "That was an encouragement because a lot of times things becomes very partisan, but this is not a Republican or Democrat issue. This is a concern statewide."

If signed into law by Gov. J. B. Pritzker, the bill would go into effect immediately.

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