An avalanche of 9,757 applicants for only a few hundred Connecticut prison jobs has exposed weaknesses in the state’s standards for hiring new correction officers, and has prompted a debate between the officers’ union and the Department of Correction about how to fix the problem, reports the Hartford Courant. One hotly debated issue is whether service as a veteran should count for more than it does under the current selection standards. Those standards give equal weight to having served in the military and having earned “some credits,” but no diploma, from a two- or four-year college.
“It is disconcerting and extremely disappointing to know that the vast majority of the women and men, who have applied for a position at the DOC and have served our country with honor and distinction, are ignored, overlooked or pushed to the back of the line,” said Moises Padilla, vice president of Cheshire Correctional Complex Employees Local 387. Correction Commissioner Scott Semple thinks it’s reasonable that military service count for one point of a possible six in the initial application-screening process. He admitted that it doesn’t make sense to him that the selection standards give equal weight to an applicant’s having “taken a cooking course at a community college.”