WSPA Staff -
COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) - The South Carolina Department of Corrections is working on a huge hiring campaign to make sure the prisons are safer for not only those in state custody, but for those who work there.
There's a critical shortage of officers with currently 700 spots to fill.
A 7 News investigation revealed there were nearly 10 guards for every 100 inmates at Perry Correctional in Pelzer when an officer was beaten and held hostage in 2016.
The Department of Corrections is now using billboards to hire.
This fiscal year, they spent $184,680 on a billboard campaign that line every interstate in South Carolina.
There's even two billboards that are being put up in Puerto Rico.
"It shows the lengths we will go through to find officers to come in and work," said DOC Director Bryan Sterling.
Sterling says they're hoping this uncharted territory will help fill the positions fast.
"We're going to use technology to expedite the interview and get them here as quickly as we can," said Sterling.
The DOC isn't tracking the return on their billboard budget but they believe their marketing efforts are working.
The DOC is also looking to retain officers through offering overtime and handing out Christmas bonuses and raises.
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