Senate proposal funds Department of Corrections pilot program, officer pay raises

The Senate is proposing spending more than $5.5 billion on the state’s Department of Corrections, court system and law enforcement agencies (SB 2500). That number includes general revenue and trust fund revenue.

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Chair Jeff Brandes said DOC has serious serious problems on which lawmakers must take action. DOC Secretary Mark Inch has said the department is currently on an unsustainable path.

Brandes cited a number of statistics he says highlight the challenges. In the past nine years, officer turnover has increased 150%. Officer vacancy rates at 26 of the state’s correctional facilities are above 10%, with the rate above 20% at eight institutions. Corrections officers are inexperienced, he said, with 60% likely to quit within two years of hire.

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