Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback announced immediate pay increases for corrections officers during a news conference Thursday afternoon at the state prison in El Dorado.
Brownback said all officers will receive an immediate 5 percent salary increase, and starting pay will be increased across the corrections system. The hourly pay rate for entry-level corrections officers will climb from $13.95 to $14.66.
At El Dorado, where the staff vacancy rate is 47 percent, the hiring hourly rate will go from $13.95 to $15.75, he said.
All uniformed staff making less than the newly established hiring rates will have their pay increased to the new rates.
Recent incidents of inmate unrest at El Dorado and other prisons in the system have raised concerns about staffing shortages.
Brownback said pay increase was a first step toward making pay competitive in an effort to retain experienced officers at the state’s correctional facilities.
“This job is an exceptionally difficult one, and the state appreciates their sacrifices,” Brownback said in a news release.
The raises are temporary — for the current budget year — and the Kansas Legislature will decide in its next session whether to extend them.
“Addressing recruitment and retention will require commitment from the Legislature, and I encourage them to work with the Department of Corrections in the 2018 legislation session,” Brownback said.
Jim McLean is managing director of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio and KMUW covering health, education and politics. You can reach him on Twitter @jmcleanks. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to kcur.org.