Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Office of Public Information
[518] 457-8182

For immediate release:

Sunday. July 18, 2004

CO exam scheduled for Oct. 30 to maintain safe, secure prisons;

Staffing levels remain high, inmate-on-staff assaults at 23-year low

To maintain record levels of safety and security in New York’s prisons, a competitive Civil Service exam for the position of Correction Officer Trainee, both English- and Spanish-speaking, will be given statewide on Oct. 30.

The starting annual salary for an Officer is $28,444. Upon successful completion of the eight-week training program and a one-year probationary period, the annual salary increases to $34,742. Officers also receive a comprehensive health insurance program, benefits package and retirement program. There are rewarding career opportunities within the Department as well.

Commissioner Goord said, “We encourage as many people as possible to take this exam. Our goal is to continue to diversify our work force by offering opportunities within DOCS to as many qualified individuals as possible.”

He added, “The Correction Officers of New York have demonstrated time and again that they are among the most professional and hardest-working employees of this state. I urge all eligible New Yorkers, especially women and minorities, to consider joining their ranks for a rewarding and fulfilling career.”

Protecting today’s Correction Officers

The number of New York state’s Correction Officers rose from 18,832 in January 1995 to 19,007 in December 2003. The prison population declined by 2.3 percent over the same period, from 66,750 inmates down to 65,197. In mid-July, there were 19,500 Officers to cover posts and staff absences around-the-clock to supervise 64,749 inmates.

By comparison, the independent Corrections Yearbook™ showed that in 2002, the latest year for which comparable national data are available, California had 19,294 Officers to provide around-the-clock supervision for 150,942 inmates, Texas had 22,495 Officers for 129,846 inmates while Florida had 10,356 Officers for 68,408 inmates.

DOCS experienced a modest 4 percent Officer attrition rate in 2002 – compared to a national average that year of 17 percent, with rates of 23 percent in Texas, 18 percent in Florida and 17 percent in California, according to 2002 data, the latest available from The Corrections Yearbook.

New York’s Officers have contributed greatly to making their work place more secure. The number of inmate-on-staff assaults has declined by 41 percent in recent years, from 962 among an average daily population of 68,164 inmates in 1995 to 568 among 66,050 inmates last year. Last year’s number was the fewest since 1981, when there were 430 such assaults among an average daily population of 23,558 inmates.

The Corrections Yearbook reports that DOCS initiated 119 inmate-on-staff assault criminal prosecutions in 2001, the latest year for which national data is available, or one-seventh of the 810 filed in prisons nationwide.

How to join tomorrow’s ranks of our Correction Officers

Despite a staff transfer freeze at some state prisons while the inmate population declines and DOCS analyzes bed needs, new staff is always needed to offset attrition that occurs at the rate of 30 Officers biweekly.

Approximately 80 percent of the 6,752 applicants tested in New York in November 2000 passed the exam. The number and percent passing increased in November 2003, when more than 81 percent of the 7,488 applicants tested passed the exam.

Individuals interested in taking October’s competitive exam must complete an application and forward it along with a non-refundable $30 application fee to the New York State Department of Civil Service at Building One, State Office Campus, Albany, N.Y., 12239. Applications can be obtained from that office and at local New York State Employment Offices, regional Civil Service offices and state correctional facilities.

Applications can be obtained by contacting the DOCS Correction Officer Recruitment Unit at Building 2, State Office Campus, 1220 Washington Avenue, Albany, N.Y., 12226. Additionally, information may be obtained via the internet at the Department’s Website.

Completed applications to take the exam must be postmarked no later than August 30.

To take this competitive, written exam, individuals must be at least 18 years of age and in good physical and mental health.

Conviction for a felony automatically disqualifies anyone from becoming an Officer. Misdemeanor convictions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility.

Additionally, at the time of appointment, candidates must be U.S. citizens, at least 21 years old, New York state residents and possess either a high school diploma or GED.

To qualify for consideration to become an Officer, applicants must score at least 70 on the written exam, results of which are ranked according to score. Applicants then undergo a background check and must qualify medically, physically, and psychologically before being appointed to the DOCS’s Training Academy in Albany for a comprehensive eight-week training program followed by three weeks of on-the-job training.

Those completing the training and probationary programs earn 16 college credits toward a post-secondary degree. They can then qualify to take exams for the positions of sergeant, lieutenant and then captain, before being considered for an appointment as a deputy superintendent or superintendent.