ADOC announces pay raise for Correctional Officers
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Corrections is ramping up its recruiting and retention efforts. Starting Thursday, March 16th, ADOC will raise the starting pay for correctional officer trainees.
Staffing shortages are not a new issue for the Alabama Department of Corrections.
“I think for about eight quarters, we’ve had a decline in correctional officer staffing. But I think this last quarter if I’m correct, it leveled off. That was encouraging that it just leveled off,” ADOC Commissioner John Hamm.
Currently, ADOC has around 1800 correctional officers on staff. ADOC Commissioner John Hamm says they need to increase that number. By implementing new pay increases for correctional officers statewide starting March 16th, Hamm believes this will put the department on the right track.
”This is something that we’re excited about. In the tight labor market we are in, we need to be competitive with other law enforcement entities. And this makes us competitive,” said Hamm.
Here is the breakdown of the increase in starting salary for correctional officer trainees.
- $55,855 at MAXIMUM SECURITY FACILITIES
- $53,245 at MEDIUM SECURITY FACILITIES
- $50,712 at WORK RELEASE / COMMUNITY WORK CENTERS
- A 27% increase will be available after just 18 months.
With this new pay scale, ADOC looks to expand its pool of candidates.
“We’re going to be attractive to high school graduates, [those with] associates [degrees], and also [those with] four-year degrees. And, you know, we’ll be more active on those campuses recruiting, especially as many universities in the state of Alabama have criminal justice programs. That is going to be some of our audience that we really want to get in front of,” said Hamm.
Hamm says while recruitment is a top priority, so is retaining existing correctional officers. The new pay grades will allow additional steps for pay progression for current corrections officers.
“We have to retain the ones we have. Because of this new pay plan, we can hire 500, but if we lose 500, then it absolutely does nothing. So we’re concentrating on the wellness of our current employees,” said Hamm.
ADOC says new promotional classifications have also been established. For example, Correctional Security Guard Senior is a newly established promotional classification. The department has also expanded location differentials for medium and maximum-security facilities for support staff in addition to correctional officers.
Commissioner Hamm estimates these pay raises will cost the department an additional $13 million annually. Hamm also told us they have hired a resource planning coordinator who is evaluating each facility to see the exact number that’s needed to be fully staffed.
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