Throughout the United States, prisons are competing with other industries for job applicants, and they’re losing: understaffing is a chronic problem from Texas to New Hampshire.
In Germany, on the other hand, citizens actually compete with each other to work for prisons. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, a state along the country’s northern coast, roughly 300 men and women will apply to be correctional officers this year. Thirty will make it into the training program, which has a 10 percent acceptance rate — a figure more often associated in the U.S. with elite universities. They will have to score over 100 on an IQ test to even qualify.
Once they’re accepted, trainees will study for at least two years. Training for American correctional officers varies by state, but rarely lasts longer than three months.