- Associated Press - Saturday, May 14, 2016

FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) - Officials are seeking to hire correctional officers for the new maximum security prison in Fort Madison.

Those interested in applying must be a high school graduate or have earned a GED certificate, the Fort Madison Daily Democrat reported (https://bit.ly/1TCidwk ) Friday. Eligible applicants also must pass a background check, panel interview, psychology exam, recorded observation and judgment test, drug screening, medical exam and have a valid driver’s license.

Selected candidates must then go through a four-week academy, followed by an on-the-job probationary period.

The rigor of the process reflects the increased responsibility of a position that used to be called “prison guard,” said Associate Warden of Security Doug Bolton.

“Sometimes titles are just titles, and sometimes they are more descriptive of what you do,” Bolton said.

Bolton said the job entails more than guarding prisoners. Correctional officers are responsible for supervising work crews and conducting inmate and cell searches, among other things, he said.

Correctional Officer Tyrone Lozano began his job decades ago when he first went by the title of “guard.” He wears several hats now, he said, as he watched several monitors in the Fort Madison prison.

“Right now I am sitting here processing offenders who have appointments to see the nurse,” Lozano said. “I keep track of them coming in and out.”

The new $166 million prison got off to a rough start before opening last year. It was supposed to open in March 2014. But it sat empty for more than a year while officials scrambled to fix a number of problems, including a flawed heating and cooling system, smoke evacuation system and air ventilation system.

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Information from: The Daily Democrat, https://www.dailydem.com

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