The Department of Corrections is set to celebrate the graduation of its largest academy yet this October. However, even though an additional 30 plus officers will be added to DOC, it is reportedly still not enough.
In an interview with DOC Commissioner Wally Villagomez, he shared that 39 students are on the path to graduate from the 9th Cycle Corrections Academy this October. The 39 cadets, nine of whom are women, went through a selection process.
“It is looking like DOC will be taking in all these 39 cadets. We are going to take all of them into DOC. We’re hoping that everything pushes through successfully and the graduation pulls through on Oct. 1, or around the first week of October,” he said.
The cadets are now finishing up their intensive physical and educational training. Through a partnership with Northern Marianas College, this year’s cadets will graduate with 40 college credits from NMC and will also have the opportunity to earn an associate degree if they choose to do so.
The last time the department had an academy was back in 2019.
Villagomez said that, although this 9th Cycle Academy is the biggest by far with 39 cadets, it is still not enough to address the shortage of officers within the prison.
“To my knowledge this is the biggest batch with 39 students. However, it’s never actually enough for any law enforcement. But you know, 39 is a big help for DOC right now. We’re working on having another academy, sooner rather than later,” Villagomez said.
He said that DOC only has roughly 90 officers, not including the academy cadets.
An Office of Personnel desk audit recently confirmed that the department averages from $30,000 to $50,000 in overtime costs per pay period due to a shortage of DOC personnel.
It was reported that the average Corrections officer logs in between 12.5 hours and 16 hours per day for a six-day work period, resulting in 64 hours up to 106 hours of overtime per officer per pay period.