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Less strict fitness requirements for prison staff?

Mar 13, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

According to a report from the Concord Monitor, the New Hampshire Department of Corrections is supporting lighter physical fitness requirements so that it can correct a long-standing staff shortage.

The staff shortage requires prison guards to work frequent double shifts. This forced overtime is a strain on workers, causing high turnover and safety concerns. The overtime also cost the state over $9 million in 2015.

Right now the Police Standards and Training Council requires all law enforcement officers in New Hampshire—including corrections officers—to meet physical fitness standards based on their sex and age. For example, a male under 30 years old must be able to run 1.5 miles in 13 minutes, do 27 push-ups, and complete 37 sit-ups in one minute.

Supporters of lighter standards argue that corrections officers do not need to run long-distances or do sit-ups to safely operate a prison.

Opponents argue that lighter standards will jeopardize officer safety.  Instead, the state could consider raising pay to attract more corrections officers.

Do you think New Hampshire should loosen physical fitness requirements to recruit critically needed corrections officers? Share your opinion in the comments below. Only comments from NH residents will be counted, so please indicate if you are from NH in your response.

Comments

Ann Towle
- Northfield

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 10:18pm

I'm a NH resident. After looking at the requirements in other states, including California which has some of the toughest prisons in the country, NH's requirements seem extreme. I would suggest a committee to examine the requirements in other states and any issues that might be the results of lower standards.

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