ALABAMA (WHNT) – Correctional officers in Alabama will be receiving a sizable salary increase, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections. 

The increase is mainly about recruiting, and retention and state officials are hopeful that raising the pay will alleviate those issues.

The increase is part of a plan to strengthen the department’s recruiting efforts.  The ADOC is facing a federal lawsuit that focuses heavily on the state’s understaffed prisons. 

Several years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice began investigating the state’s overcrowded and understaffed prisons for unconstitutionally dangerous conditions. A lawsuit is set for a trial in 2024. 

The increases to starting officer salaries are as follows;

  • $55,855 at maximum security facilities 
  • $53,245 at medium security facilities 
  • $50,712 at work release and community work centers 

The pay increase according to the ADOC will affect current officers and the plan expands different pay for medium and maximum-security facilities that include support staff.

Stacy George, a former prison officer at Limestone Correctional facility, told News 19 that his annual starting salary was just $28,000, and the pay increase to $50,000 to $55,000 thousand is long overdue.

“This is a step in the right direction and it’s a very bold move and great move by Governor Kay Ivey and the ADOC,” said George. “It’s got a lot of people’s attention. I also talked to a warden off the record about this, but I think he had 6 or 7 officers signed up and are getting ready for onsite testing just as the break of this news about the pay increase.” 

ADOC commissioner John Hamm says that the pay increase represent “the beginning of an ambitious agenda.”

“Some of the projects we have prioritized, but are not limited to, are building new prison facilities; implementing a modern inmate management system; streamlining the correctional officer hiring, retention, and training processes; and actively supporting the reinstatement of Tier 1 retirement benefits for all employees,” he said.