Of course it won’t help with under staffing! Like many prisons, many new guards quit in disgust when they see all of the criminal activity and abuse of inmates by C Os, and they learn that unless they go along they will not get overtime hours, will not get promoted, etc.! See many related articles on this website.
Of course prison administrators won’t tell you this truth!
Excerpts from the Article:
The state’s two-year budget provided $84 million to increase salaries for correctional officers and other prison employees as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice faces nearly 4,000 empty guard positions. = https://lnkd.in/edzxXgJ
It’s an ongoing problem for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which has struggled for years to hire and keep guards in about 100 state-run prisons, leading to safety and health concerns for both prisoners and staff. In April, the agency was short nearly 4,000 correctional officers, and almost 1 in 3 left the job last year. State officials and the agency have blamed the understaffing on low pay for a tough job that’s often in rural parts of the state and on more opportunities in the oil and fracking industries.
“We’re in the strongest economy we’ve seen in a long, long time, so the competition is tough,” Bryan Collier, the department’s executive director, told The Texas Tribune.
Prison guards start at about $36,000 and receive a maximum of about $43,000 after 7.5 years. As the agency struggles with a 15% vacancy rate of its guard jobs, officers have been required to work mandatory overtime for more than a year at some prisons and often rotate from one prison into more drastically understaffed units for short stints.
To stem the flow of guards leaving their ranks and attract more recruits, TDCJ officials asked the Texas Legislature for $168 million this year for pay raises to correctional officers and other prison staff, whose positions haven’t had salary increases since 2015. In the two-year budget signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday, the agency got half of the requested funds.
Collier applauded lawmakers for doling out the money and allowing the department to reform its salary schedule to give larger but less frequent raises as officers rise through the ranks — providing a bigger bump earlier to new guards, who are much more likely to quit, while handing down more modest raises to longtime employees.
But even for the officers who will get the biggest increase starting this fall, the raises are still relatively small, and some doubt the salary shifts will make a significant dent in the chronic understaffing problem that is also affecting prisons across the country. The department already increased the starting annual salary by about $2,000 last year by cutting out the first two rungs of the pay scale and offers $5,000 hiring bonuses at nearly 20 of its most understaffed prisons. Still, several maximum-security prisons only had two-thirds of guard positions filled in April, according to an agency report.
Collier said the agency restructured the career ladder to focus on its biggest retention problem — new officers. Last year, nearly 40% of new officers quit within the first year, he said. That’s higher than the overall turnover rate, which is just shy of 30%.
“Our veteran officers turnover rate is much much lower than what we see on the front end,” he said. “Our focus with the career path was based on our analysis of who’s leaving.”
But longtime officers and union officials have repeatedly asked for help for the staff members who have stuck around, saying the current maximum salary is much lower than in similar jobs.