Correctional officers throughout the state of West Virginia may have a somewhat belated Christmas gift coming in early 2015 as legislators consider pay raises for them. Charleston Commissioner Jim Rubenstein of the West Virginia Division of Corrections said recently that the state’s correctional officers are underpaid relative to the importance of the work that they do and the service that they provide.
Rubenstein brought his thoughts on the matter before a legislative committee in Charleston last week which will ultimately review the proposal for higher salaries for correctional officers soon. The proposal that was presented by Rubenstein as well as by Regional Jail Authority Director Joe Delong and the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Service Director Stephanie Bond and is, according to Rubenstein, “a first step” in resolving the issue of what he described as a well-deserved pay increase for correctional officers in West Virginia.
The state of West Virginia is trying to work around correctional officers having to work undue amounts of overtime hours by attracting a greater number of qualified individuals to take on open correctional officer positions. Rubenstein stated that the fact that state legislators are interested in attracting more qualified people into the role of the state’s correctional officers is one reason that higher salaries should be approved.
According to the proposal, there would be an immediate initial increase of $2,000 per year across the board for all state correctional employees as well as for incoming officers who have recently completed training for the job.
There would also be a longevity pay plan that would be put in place which would give career officers the advantage of being able to have an annual pay increase. Rubenstein and Delong both stated that they fully acknowledge the added costs involved in a pay increase for correctional officers but that such an increase would ultimately increase employee retention among the state’s officers.