View Full Version : Prison Chief Wants Younger Workforce After Escape

Cold War Scout
06-15-2006, 06:10 PM
WASHINGTON -- The average age of the corrections officers at the District Jail is over 50 -- and now the jail's new director says that could have contributed to the recent escape.

Devon Brown, director of the Department of Corrections, says he needs a younger workforce. He says the average age of the 684 Correction Officers is 51.

"We have a major issue with an aging workforce. The median age of our corrections officer is approximately 50 years, and as you can imagine this presents a problem.We have one uniformed personnel who's 70 years of age"

Brown says a younger officer may have prevented the recent escape of two inmates.

"I'm not suggesting definitively that they would have been apprehended had the officer been younger, by the way that officer will turn 48 this year, but certainly if there was younger person I think the possibility that he would not have been out run exists.

Brown adds younger officers are physically more prepared for the challenges of the job.

"Their eyesight is better, their ability to address physical challenges is much more acute."

Brown says there is a problem with the retirement plan. In many correctional systems across the country, corrections officers have the option of retiring at 50-years-old with 20 years of service, or they may retire at any age with 20 years of service.

Brown says the retirement plan for many corrections officers working for the District requires that they work until Social Security age, and even then the benefits are minimal. That makes it tough to recruit young officers.

"A younger, well-trained correctional workforce more likely could provide better security in a more transient detention environment with younger offenders."

Only one D.C. corrections officer is under the age of 40.

Joseph Leaks, 32, and Ricardo Jones, 25, were awaiting trial when they escaped from the jail earlier this month. The inmates left the jail by entering an administrative office and breaking a window. The suspects outran a 48-year-old officer.