PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The state of Rhode Island is looking to hire more prison guards and women and minorities are being encouraged to apply.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said at the launch of the recruitment drive Wednesday that the state wants the diversity of correctional officers to match the diversity of the state prison's inmates.

Jim Vincent, president of the NAACP's Providence branch, says "It's critical that we have correctional officers who reflect the population of inmates."

Department of Corrections Director Patricia Coyne-Fague says the recruitment drive lasts through Feb. 3 with a goal of hiring 70 people to participate in the summer training program.

Participants learn defensive tactics, riot control, de-escalation skills, suicide prevention and other skills designed to help keep the state's prisons secure and reduce the risk of inmates re-offending.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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