ABOUT THE TRAINING ACADEMY
Felipe Zavala, Manager Staff Development and Training
It is the mission of the Illinois Department of Corrections Training Academy to support and contribute to the mission of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). This will be accomplished through the development of quality training in all subjects identified as necessary for the discharge of the department’s responsibilities. Training given by the academy will be relevant, realistic and current and will be available to appropriate target audiences of this and other agencies. Professionalism, accountability and the highest ethical standards will be emphasized in every curriculum offered.
The IDOC Training Academy is located on the grounds of the agency’s headquarters in Springfield, Ill. The academy offers regional training sites located at Pontiac Correctional Center in Pontiac, Ill., for northern region training and on the campus of John A. Logan Community College in Marion, Ill., for southern region training. The academy also provides training where needed at prisons across the state.
The Training Academy’s focus is to provide quality and up-to-date training using technology and reality based training, wherever possible, for all new incoming security and non-security staff. In addition, the academy develops and provides training for all existing staff members within the department to maintain and enhance their job performance. Training in the areas of Firearms, Crisis Intervention, Hostage Negotiations, Administration of Discipline, Critical Incident, Command Post, Prison Rape Elimination Act and Instructional Methods, to name a few, are offered throughout the year and taught by both academy instructors and subject-matter experts from throughout the corrections field. The academy also streamlines certain annual mandatory training by featuring it online to better accommodate the department’s front line and support staff.
Other core curricula of the Training Academy include a one-week course Pre-service Orientation Training (PSOT) directed toward all non-security staff within the department to provide the skills, tools and knowledge for the management of daily occurrences. The Corrections Training Academy also provides an eight-week pre-service course for all new state correctional parole agents to prepare them in the supervision of parolees in the community. Also included is a weeklong annual in-service course for parole agents that provides instructions on the most up-to-date, efficient and safest tactics and techniques to assist in the performance of their jobs. This is achieved by instructing agents in reality based drills and scenarios, while experienced instructors evaluate the agent’s proficiency. Finally, the Training Academy continues to provide support and training for other agencies within the state in the areas of criminal justice and corrections.
The core curriculum of the Training Academy is the six-week new Correctional Officer Training or Pre-Service Security Training. Upon hire, the new correctional officer (cadet) will be assigned to attend this training located at the Training Academy in Springfield, Ill.
New cadets will be transported from their facility to the Training Academy each week and should be prepared for a strict training schedule to include topics such as Professionalism, Firearms, Control Tactics, Use and Application of Restraints, Report Writing, Inmate Sexual Assault Prevention and Intervention, along with group practical exercises in one of the many facilities throughout the state. The training provided for all new cadets stresses teamwork and professionalism.
Cadets live in one of two dormitory buildings and adhere to strict rules involving property in which they can possess and conditions within their room. A new cadet can expect the following daily schedule:
6:30a.m. – 7:15a.m. Breakfast
7:15a.m. – 7:45a.m. Prepare for Daily Inspection
8:00a.m. – 8:20a.m. Daily Inspection
8:00a.m. – 8:30a.m. Daily Roll Call
8:30a.m. – 11:30a.m. Class
11:30a.m. – 12:30p.m. Lunch
12:30p.m. – 4:00p.m. Class
4:00p.m. – 5:30p.m. Study / Free Time
5:30p.m. – 6:30p.m. Dinner
6:30p.m. – 10:00p.m. Study / Free Time
10:00p.m. Lights Out
Cadets entering the Training Academy will be provided further information by their hiring facility prior to arrival at the Training Academy. The cadet is strongly encouraged to be physically fit at the level required at screening prior to arrival at the Training Academy.
STAFF AND DEVELOPMENT TRAINING
Employee Ethics, Professionalism
Departmental Firearms Training
Security, Custody and Control I and II
Chemical Agents and Oleoresin Capsicum (Pepper Spray)
Cell, Area, and Vehicle Search
Hostage and Riot
Critical Incident Management and Command Post Training
Correctional Officer Trainee Graduation
IDOC cadets participate in a formal ceremony upon successful completion of 240-hours of Pre-service Security Training at the academy. Marksmanship, Academic, Professional Standards and Instructor Recognition Awards are presented to the outstanding cadets in each category. Cadets are awarded certificates and badges and sworn to the Oath of Office.
“I shall carry out my professional duties in a manner which meets the department’s highest ethical standards.
I shall conduct my personal affairs in a manner that reflects positively on my profession and the department.
I shall, in the course of my official duties, treat committed persons equally with fairness and dignity.
I shall act to preserve safety of the staff, committed persons and the public.
I will obey all rules and regulations of the department and all state and federal laws.
I shall uphold the Constitution of the United States and my sovereign State.”