SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced the graduation of 61 correctional officer cadets, who completed a six-week, paramilitary training course at the Illinois Department of Corrections’ training academy in Springfield. On behalf of the Governor, IDOC Director Roger E. Walker, Jr. congratulated the 61 new correctional officers during a graduation ceremony held at the agency’s General Headquarters.
“These new officers will help improve our prison system. With the training they just completed, they will be better prepared to keep our correctional facilities safe and secure,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
“It’s a pleasure and an honor to see this fine group of cadets graduate today,” said Director Walker. “On behalf of Gov. Blagojevich, I commend their dedication and achievements. These new officers will carry on this administration’s focus of running safe and secure prisons, and the state will continue to grow front line staff to protect and control inmates.”
The six-week course is a 240-hour Pre-Service Security Training program. The cadets undergo a regimen of training sessions that include employee ethics, professionalism, firearms, control tactics, fire emergency, search procedures, discipline and report writing, radio communications, drug awareness, training exercises and exams.
Last August, a class of 111 correctional officers graduated. Another class of 54 cadets is scheduled to graduate mid-November.
Since the beginning of his administration, the Governor has worked to improve the Illinois prison system, and is committed to enhancing prison-based treatment, prevention programs and the successful reentry of inmates into society.
The Governor’s most recent reentry initiative is to develop a national model Meth prison and reentry program. The initiative includes creating two Meth units, one at Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center and one at Sheridan. In fiscal year 2007, 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.