West Virginia prison hirings jump after pay raises passed

June 18, 2018 GMT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia corrections officials have hired 730 new jail and prison guards since the Legislature passed pay raises in March.

The Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety says in a news release that even before the raises become law July 1, they have prompted a boost in recruiting officers and staff at chronically understaffed facilities.

Lawmakers gave jail and prison guards a 5 percent raise, plus an additional $2,000 annually for three years.

Before Gov. Jim Justice proposed the raises, corrections agencies struggled to replace department officers.

The statement says the new hirings include 231 in the prison system, 410 in regional jails and 80 in the Division of Juvenile Services. Since March 6 the hirings have reduced the number of vacancies in those areas by 67 percent.