La. corrections officers receive pay raise

The move comes in response to concerns that low pay threatened the safety of staff and inmates


By CorrectionsOne Staff

NEW ORLEANS — Corrections officers in Louisiana will get their second pay raise in two years.

The Louisiana State Civil Service Commission voted Wednesday to give COs pay raises ranging from 2 percent to 10 percent, effect immediately, the Times-Picayune reported. The move comes in response to concerns that low pay threatened the safety of staff and inmates.

In this Saturday, April 26, 2014 file photo, the sun shines through concertina wire on a fence at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
In this Saturday, April 26, 2014 file photo, the sun shines through concertina wire on a fence at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Entry-level CO positions will increase from $12.70 to $13.97 per hour. Officers with a high rank or more experience will also receive anywhere from a 2 percent to 5 percent raise, depending on their current pay and position.

Jimmy LeBlanc, secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, has said the low salary has made it difficult to hire and retain officers. He said they entry-level CO pay was so low that some officers who weren’t married qualified for food stamps.

Out of the 1,117 entry-level COs hired in the state in 2016, 814 of them left the job within the first year, making it a 73 percent turnover rate, according to agency data. LeBlanc said the shortage of officers has created a public safety hazard.

"People get trained and then quit and go into the private sector, where they can make twice as much money," said Ed Parker, who works for the union that represents correctional officers. "The morale is at an all-time low right now. This is a hard job." 

At the beginning of this year, entry-level COs received an 8.5 percent salary increase. With the two raises, CO salary in the state has increased from $24,300 to $29,050 in less than a year.

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