Concerns at county prisons. In many facilities, there are not enough guards.
“It’s not on the top 10 I want to work for a correctional facility industry,” said Tina Litz, warden at the Lebanon County Correctional Facility.
It wasn’t always this way.
“Usually these are the jobs that people vie for. There is usually a stack of applications and people want to be involved in this industry,” Warden Litz said.
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The pandemic put prisons in a tough spots. Fewer staffers meant more work.
Tina Litz is the warden at the Lebanon County Correctional Facility. She says mental health illness among inmate is pervasive.
“There is a lot of addiction of people being incarcerated. Many years ago it was balanced with maybe an increase in DUI offenders or thefts or burglaries,” Warden Litz said.
The job has also become more challenging.
“Years prior people thought that you had to be a weight lifter or something like that to be a corrections officer. We’re asking you to wear many different hats. The most important that you are able to communicate and de-escalate situations,” she said.
While sign-on bonuses didn’t work, Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz says increased wages are.
“We offered different wages than the correctional officers were receiving so that they were in line and we wouldn’t train them and they would leave for another job. We wanted for them to stay,” Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz said.
Now, they’re looking for 18 corrections officers – all attracted to the same thing.
“Chaos. Everday is not the same at any correctional facility so each day when there is chaos it’s like the adrenaline rush almost helps you get through the day,” Commissioner Litz said.
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