NWFRC looks to hire correctional officers

With the highest pay increase in Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) history recently approved by the Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Northwest Florida Reception Center is looking to hire correctional officers, maintenance crew, classification officers and a variety of other staff.

NWFRC Warden Gary Hewett says the prison is the largest employer in Washington County. 

“We have the ability to employ nearly 600 people,” said Hewett. “We are currently sitting at 452 correctional officers, making us the biggest employer in Washington County.”

In the 2021-2022 fiscal year, officers beginning pay for corrections officers was $15 per hour. The salary was raised to $18.63 per hour before the end of the fiscal year. Thanks to the large budget increase from Gov. DeSantis, new officers will start at $20 per hour, an increase that became effective with the beginning of the new fiscal year in July.

Hewett says people do not need to worry if they aren’t certified; FDC will pay for them to go to school. 

“For those that want to have a career in corrections and aren’t yet certified, we will pay for them to get their certification,” said Hewett. “We need to get our numbers back up. We want to fill every available position we have as it allows us to do many things that we are unable to do with us not being a full capacity of employees.”

FDC is also completing the transition from 12-hour shifts to 8-and-half-hour shifts, bringing the annual pay in the range of $44,000 for a 42-and-half-hour work week.

Hewett says the institution holds hiring events and job fairs regularly. “Sgt. Tiffany Haire works hard making the hiring process easy for those who apply,” he said. “She puts together job fairs and hiring events and even goes to career source, and festivals to recruit employees.”

Hewett has been the warden since May 2021 and says it is fulfilling to work in corrections. 

“Most people, unless they have worked in this field, wouldn’t believe how fulfilling it can be,” he said. “You have the ability to touch people’s lives at times and not just inmates but staff as well.Seeing inmates change for the better is just one of the best things.”

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