State prison guards get first pay raise in 4 years in new budget

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AUSTIN, Texas (KETK) – The 2-year state budget signed recently into law by Governor Greg Abbott provides about $84 million for pay raises for Texas correctional officers.

The pay increase is intended to help solve the problem of hiring and retaining prison guards that has long plagued the Texas correctional system.

The Texas department of criminal Justice includes about 100 state prisons. The problem of hiring and retaining guards has caused health and safety concerns for both staff and inmates. It also has led to staffing shortages, which raises security concerns.

To help with the understaffing issue, 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.

According to the Texas Tribune, state prison guards currently start at about $36,000 and receive a maximum of about $43,000 after 7.5 years. They’ve not had a salary increase since 2015.

In an attempt to solve the problem, TDCJ officials had asked the Legislature to include $168 million in the budget for pay raises.

In the final budget, they got about half of that.

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