Group: Illinois should streamline corrections hiring process – Quad-Cities Online: Illinois

Posted: October 31, 2015 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A report from an Illinois prison watchdog group says the state’s hiring process for its corrections system is cumbersome and needs to be streamlined.The John Howard Association says in the report released Thursday that jobs at state corrections facilities stay vacant too long because of the hiring system. For instance, filling teacher vacancies takes six to eight months at six youth prisons run by the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, according to the report.The report says delays in completing background checks and setting start dates “can encourage the most highly qualified candidates to accept employment elsewhere.”Additional testing, reviewing, scoring and interviewing add to delays, the report says. Applicants file large batches of paperwork, according to the association.Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner called for state hiring rules to be overhauled earlier this year, the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers ( ) reports. He also said in February that the state Department of Corrections needed more workers, saying it should have 12,224 employees rather than the estimated 11,300 at the time.Department of Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said in an email that the agency is “working aggressively to boost staffing levels.” As of Sept. 30, the department’s staff was at 11,482 workers, she said, and nearly 600 new correctional officers have been added since Rauner took office.Wilson said increased staffing has helped trim overtime costs, saving $1.06 million from fiscal year 2015 compared with 2014.John Howard Association executive director Jennifer Vollen-Katz said the idea for its report came after the group visited facilities.”What we noticed is the chronic understaffing,” Vollen-Katz said. “The more questions we asked we found that this is a very complicated problem. Nobody could explain the hiring process to us from start to finish.”Many procedures that slow hiring were meant curb political favoritism, but Vollen-Katz said processes have become “unwieldy and unmanageable.””It started from a good place,” she said. “The instinct there was good.”Vollen-Katz said many changes would require spending. Computer systems would have to be upgraded, and more training would be needed for human resources staff.

Source: Group: Illinois should streamline corrections hiring process – Quad-Cities Online: Illinois

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