Address Corrections Officer Pay Crisis

Attention on pay and benefits for public employees is focused on teachers, and that is appropriate. At the same time, however, West Virginia legislators cannot let the same problem among corrections officers persist.

State prisons and regional jails are so understaffed that clerical workers have been told they may have to pull guard duty. Gov. Jim Justice has authorized use of the National Guard at corrections facilities, if necessary.

The problem is that pay is not adequate to attract and retain corrections officers, who have exceedingly demanding, stressful jobs.

We have been told Justice’s administration is working on a plan to increase pay, largely funded by making the prisons and jails more efficient. We hope it is realistic and workable.

This is an issue legislators must ensure is addressed.