MOUNTAIN CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – It only lasted a few hours, but Northeast Correctional Complex’s “rapid hiring event” had a payoff.

Prospective employees review paperwork at a rapid hiring event on Nov. 30 at Northeast Correctional Center.

The Mountain City prison has been battling staffing shortages — part of a statewide challenge for the Tennessee Department of Corrections, even as the agency has raised starting pay and offered generous sign-on bonuses.

Spokesman Robert Reburn tells News Channel 11 that Tuesday’s event drew eight would-be corrections officers. Four of those applicants had a job by the end of the day, Reburn said.

Starting salary for TDOC correctional officers is $32,500 with an automatic increase to $34,100 after the successful completion of a year-long probationary period. 

Correctional officers are eligible for state benefits including health, dental, and vision, as well as paid leave and 401k plans. Newly hired correctional officers are also eligible for a $5,000 sign-on bonus.

That still leaves plenty of open positions as Northeast has roughly 100 openings for corrections officers.

The prison housed 1,620 inmates at the end of October.