Critical staffing shortage at jail

ELLSWORTH — The Hancock County Jail is looking for corrections officers — right now.

“At this time, it’s critical,” said Jail Administrator Timothy Richardson. “We’re seeking three full-time employees.”

Starting wages are $14 an hour and include dental, medical, eye care and retirement benefits. The county also provides sick time, vacation time and holiday compensation, Richardson said.

Once an officer begins working “on the floor” the pay is $16.55 an hour.

That would increase to $17.56 an hour once an officer is fully certified.

“We provide uniforms and all the training,” he said.

Richardson said new officers have to attend a five-week corrections officer training at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, which the county pays for.

Officers must live at the academy in Vassalboro for the five-week training but can go home on weekends.

When they start work at the jail, “it’s 12-hour shifts, three days on, three days off,” said Richardson. The shifts are either 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 5 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The duties include: “care, custody and control of the resident population,” Richardson said.

For those concerned about personal safety while working in a jail, Richardson offered reassurance.

“This is a job that when you’re at work, you’re never alone,” he said. “There’s a minimum of four [corrections officers] on the floor at all times.”

No firearms are involved. Richardson said officers are trained to use pepper spray and restraints.

Candidates should be at least 21 years of age, hold a valid driver’s license and be a high school graduate or have a GED or an equivalent. They must pass a background check.

“We are seeking professionals for this career,” Richardson said.

Those interested should call Richardson or Lt. Frank Shepard at 667-7588 or send an email to [email protected]

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.

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