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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Close to 250 new custody officers graduate

The Correction and Rehabilitation secretary said the hiring of this latest round of correctional officers largely resolves the need to fill positions that the agency has had for years. (Gov. Pedro Pierluisi/Facebook)

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, along with Correction and Rehabilitation (DCR) Secretary Ana Escobar Pabón, oversaw the graduation on Tuesday of more than 200 cadets who will now join the 3,444 correctional officers who provide surveillance, custody and security services in the island’s prison system.

“My commitment to our correctional officers, which dates back to before I was governor, goes beyond just words as my administration has made sure to increase their compensation and improve their working conditions,” the governor said at a press conference. “Likewise, we have given them modern vehicles for the patrols, new uniforms, firearms and modern security equipment to be able to do their job well.”

Pierluisi added that “I feel very optimistic when seeing the members of this academy that will incorporate 243 new correctional officers into our efforts to ensure the safety of our inmates and also our people.”

“As governor, I am proud to be here to recognize the vital importance of the work you are about to undertake,” he said. “With this third academy we have added 695 correctional officers who have joined the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation in the past three years, so we are being extremely proactive in ensuring that the security personnel of our correctional institutions and the Corps of Custody Officers are strong, trained and prepared.”

The DCR secretary, meanwhile, emphasized that the current graduating academy has the distinction of adding the most women to the Custody Officers Corps. Escobar Pabón noted that in September 2022, 238 cadets graduated and in June 2023, 214. She said the hiring of this new round of correctional officers largely resolves the need to fill positions that the agency has had for years.

“This is a moment that allows us to reflect on the transcendent task that awaits these graduates,” Escobar Pabón said. “This choice, to dedicate their lives to prison service, deserves our recognition and appreciation. Work in the correctional field is challenging, but it is also an invaluable opportunity to positively impact the lives of those who find themselves in difficult situations.”

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