BOISE, Idaho — On Friday, 43 officers were recognized at the Idaho Corrections Academy graduation at the State Capitol building.

The Idaho Department of Correction said the graduates represent filling a big need for correctional officers in the state.

Josh Tewalt, IDOC director, said there are currently 66 vacant job openings for correctional officers in the state.

He said these graduates are a big step forward in helping to fill the hiring gap.

“These prison facilities are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and that means there’s always going to be someone standing watch," Tewalt said. "So when we don’t have the bodies to fill those posts, it means people are being held over, it means people are coming in early, because those posts aren’t going to sit vacant. So what these folks represent is relief – they represent some help.”

Tewalt said the graduates completed a four-week training at the POST academy and are ready to go to work at one of the state's prison facilities. 

Tewalt said they are looking at ways to hire more correctional officers. He added that on Thursday, the IDOC went before the state Legislature to discuss some possible ways to increase starting pay for correctional officers.