Corrections, Pardon and Parole Officers to Get Pay Raise

Oklahoma House of Representatives - May 18, 2022 6:19 am

OKLAHOMA CITY – A proposal to give state correctional and pardon and parole officers a significant pay raise has been announced by the state Department of Corrections (DOC), a move largely facilitated by Rep. Justin JJ Humphrey, R-Lane.

Under the plan, correctional officers would receive a 30% pay increase, and probation and parole officers would see an increase of 20%. Medical staff would see an increase of up to 16%.

“Our state prisons are facing a critical shortage of corrections officers, who we call on to preserve public safety,” Humphrey said. “Because of this, I worked with the state Department of Corrections to find money within their own budget to fund what may be the largest pay raise in state history. This will allow us to recruit new officers and to pay those who do these difficult jobs a greater portion of what they deserve.”

Humphrey said the pay raises will range from $4,000 per year for cadets to $11,000 a year for  sergeants. Salaries would range from $42,000 to $83,000 for chiefs. Combined with benefits, that’s a decent living, he said, but it’s still woefully behind what he would like to see for the amount of training these officers undergo and the risk to their lives behind prison walls.

Humphrey, the chair of the House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee, last year called for a state of emergency to address the shortage of corrections officers at state prisons. This year, DOC reported it is down 950 officers.

For the past several years Humphrey has worked with former legislator Bobby Cleveland, now the director of Oklahoma Correctional Professionals, to improve working conditions and pay for prison employees. Last year, the two secured a $2 per hour pay raise for correctional staff working in direct contact with inmates in order to help with recruitment and retention of staff to address the shortage.

Humphrey said the current pay raises can be accomplished by reducing the amount of overtime paid once new officers are hired and by re-prioritizing DOC’s current budget.

His initial goal is to increase the number of correctional employees by 600 over the next three years. There will still be capacity to hire additional officers

 

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