SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Thursday announced immediate pay boosts for correctional officers at state prisons that have struggled with staffing shortages in recent months.
The Republican governor has attempted for over a year to address complaints among Department of Corrections employees, as well as to overhaul the state’s aging prison facilities. The Legislature had already boosted pay for state corrections officers by 6%, but those wages still lagged behind what corrections officers can make working at some counties’ jail facilities.
“These permanent pay increases will assist us with recruiting and retaining quality correctional security officers,” Noem said in a statement. “These increases show officers our appreciation for their service to our state.”
Hourly pay for starting correctional officers will now be set at $23.50, while more experienced officers can make up to $28 an hour.
Kellie Wasko, the Secretary of the Department of Corrections, said the pay increase would help “improve safety and the overall culture” at the department.