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August 4, 2006

Illinois Department of Corrections graduates 111 correctional officer cadets from the training academy
New correctional officer cadets to join security work force, 30 assigned to Thomson

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) Director Roger E. Walker Jr. today congratulated 111 correctional officer cadets at a graduation ceremony. The six-week paramilitary training course began June 26 at the agency’s Illinois Department of Corrections training academy in Springfield.

“Safety is at the forefront of the agency’s operations,” said IDOC Director Roger E. Walker Jr. “We look forward to having these new correctional officers join the professional staff at the agency’s correctional facilities. We are also excited that this graduation indicates how close we are to opening Thomson Correctional Center—more than one quarter of these officers will go to Thomson.”

The six-week course is a 240-hour Pre-Service Security Training program. The cadets underwent a regimen of training sessions that include employee ethics, professionalism, firearms, control tactics, fire emergency, search procedures, discipline and report writing, radio communication, drug awareness, training exercises and exams.

The new correctional officers will report to various IDOC facilities throughout the state. Out of the 111 new officers, 30 will be assigned to Thomson Correctional Center’s minimum-security unit (MSU), which is slated to open September 1. Approximately 75 staff will be employed at Thomson MSU, which includes 30 new and 10 transferring correctional officers. Frank Shaw is serving as warden of Thomson Correctional Center. Shaw served as warden of Hill Correctional Center as well as assistant warden of operations at both Hill and East Moline Correctional Centers. A veteran of IDOC, he joined the agency in 1981 as a correctional officer at East Moline Correctional Center.

In May, IDOC held a series of town hall meetings at Thomson, Port Byron and Morrison to inform residents about the job opportunities that would become available as the agency began the correctional officer hiring process for the Thomson Correctional Center. Nearly 500 people attended the meetings, which provided information on IDOC’s employment opportunities and
recruitment process.

Prior to this scheduled training, the last correctional officer class to graduate from IDOC was held in January 2005 when 108 officers graduated. IDOC is planning another cadet training class in the fall.

The Governor has pledged to improve the Illinois prison system. The Governor’s most recent reentry initiative is to develop a national model Meth prison and reentry program. The Governor’s Meth prison initiative includes creating two Meth Units, one at Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center and one at Sheridan. In FY 07, the Governor will create a 200-bed Meth Unit at the 667-bed Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center and make the entire prison another fully dedicated drug prison and reentry program in the model of Sheridan.

Next year, the Governor will expand the Sheridan Correctional Center from 950 offenders to its full capacity of 1,300 offenders, with 200 of those spaces to be used for another Meth Unit. As with the current Sheridan model, inmates in both programs will not only access intensive prison- based drug treatment programs, vocational training, job preparation and mental health services, but their treatment will continue upon completion of their sentence under a highly supervised transition back to their communities.


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