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Training Academy

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Correctional Officer Trainee

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Illinois Department of Corrections Training Academy

The Illinois Department of Corrections Training Academy is a state-of-the-art facility located on the campus of the Macon County Law Enforcement Training Center in Decatur, Illinois. Opened in 2022, this facility propels IDOC into the forefront of corrections training for the 21st century. Using Staff Development Specialists (SDS) and Subject Matter Experts (SME), we strive to provide our staff with the best evidence-based training to provide a safe, secure, and humane environment for not only staff, but for the individuals in custody under our care.

Our Mission

The mission of the Illinois Department of Corrections Training Academy is to support and contribute to the mission of the Illinois Department of Corrections.

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.

What We Do

The Training Academy provides initial training for all new employees, as well as ongoing staff development for our established staff. New Correctional Officer Trainees (COTs) partake in an 8-week training regiment, while our new non-uniformed staff attend a 1-week training. The goal of training is to prepare new staff for entry into the correctional environment.

COTs begin their correctional journey with two weeks of training at their parent facility. During this time, COTs will tour their facility, meet the facility administration, receive CPR/First Aid training, and complete a series of online trainings. COTs also receive training focused on the importance of professionalism.

For weeks 3-8, it is off to Decatur to complete training! Much of the training at the Academy is designed to encourage a team approach. Below is a listing of some of the areas covered by our SDS and SME staff at the Academy:

Firearms                                  Report Writing                        Communications

Use of Force                            Mental Health                         Staff Wellness

Restraints-Handcuffing           Implicit Bias                             Prison Rape Elimination Act

Defensive Control Tactics        Searches                                  Use of Radios

This is just part of the curriculum for new officers. In addition to classroom work, the Academy has a state-of-the-art simulator that presents realistic, scenario-based training for COTs. Our mock cells provide another realistic environment for our COTs to hone their new skills!

Upon successful completion of the 8-week training, COTs will participate in a graduation ceremony. Prior to the graduation ceremony, COT family members are invited to tour the Training Academy and participate in a DOC Family Orientation. During the graduation ceremony, outstanding COTs are recognized. To conclude the ceremony, the COTs are sworn in, taking the Oath of Office and partaking in the pinning of badges. 

IDOC’s non-uniformed staff complete a Pre-Service Orientation Training (PSOT). This training is held regionally and led by facility SDS and SME. Some of the topics covered in PSOT are:

            Professional Conduct              Report Writing            Mental Health

            PREA                                        Institutional Procedures            Emergency Procedures

            Legal Issues                             Situational Awareness             Staff Wellness

Since the correctional setting is unique, and probably unlike any environment our new employees have worked in, we make every attempt to ensure they have the tools to succeed in their new career.

Ongoing professional development is key to supporting the Department’s mission. Professional development is offered to staff through several venues. Staff may attend training at the Academy, attend regional training at facilities throughout the state, or through online modules. Additionally, all staff participate in annual “Cycle” training at their facility. The number of hours required for “Cycle” is dictated by position. Facility Training Coordinators are responsible for scheduling staff for training.

The Training Academy also provides a 10-week pre-service course for all new state correctional parole agents to prepare them for the supervision of parolees in the community.

The Training Academy continues to provide support and training for other state agencies in the areas of criminal justice and corrections.