TALLAHASSEE (NSF) - Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a bill lowering the minimum age to work as a correctional officer in the state from 19 to 18.
That means the Florida Department of Corrections and county jails will be able to start hiring younger guards starting July 1 to address a growing problem with staffing shortages.
Mark Inch, secretary of the Department of Corrections, endorsed the bill during this year's legislative session, arguing that changing the age eligibility would be a big help to his agency in filling vacancies.
Michelle Glady, a department spokeswoman, said in March that the turnover rate for state correctional officers last year was 29 percent, and the year ended with 2,000 vacancies.
The bill will also ban the use of drones over and near county, state and private correctional facilities as well as juvenile detention centers. That change is meant to help decrease the amount of contraband going into prisons and jails.