JACKSON, MISS. –The Mississippi Department of Corrections appreciates the pay increase correctional officers received under the across-the-board pay raise the Legislature approved for state employees during the last session, Commissioner Pelicia E. Hall said.
The starting pay for correctional officers moved from $24,900 to $25,650 after July 1 when the state employees’ raises of up to 3 percent took effect.
"It is not where we want to be, but, of course, it is a step in the right direction," Commissioner Hall said.
As the agency prepares to discuss its priorities with the Legislature during annual budget hearings in September, it will again seek for starting pay to be between $28,000 and $31,000 as Commissioner Hall told lawmakers in the 2019 session. The wages are the lowest in the country. The additional bump will make the wages comparable to neighboring states, including Alabama.
More adequate wages will help the department fill vacancies, currently at 581, across its three state-run facilities, Commissioner Hall said. "We are actively recruiting," she said. "We want people who want to make corrections a career and not just a job."