CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The House of Delegates Finance Committee unanimously passed its version of House Bill 4142 Monday, which will provide corrections officers with a $6,000 raise over a three-year period.
The state’s corrections system has come under scrutiny in recent months because of staffing issues, including a shortage of officers and long work hours. Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency regarding staffing on Dec. 22.
As amended, the $6,000 raise will cover anyone who works in the field including corrections officers and other jail and prison staff including corrections trainers and parole officers. The state employees who work in central headquarters will fall under the one percent raise for two years being proposed by Gov. Jim Justice.
State Correctional Operations Director Joe Thornton said there was an initial proposal of $55 in per-diem costs, but county officials requested a cap at $48.25 a day.
“There was a belief that we were going to raise that to $55 dollars, and that wasn’t the case,” he said.
More than 120 people from multiple agencies — including the West Virginia National Guard — conclude training this week to be able to work at correctional facilities. Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Jeff Sandy said on MetroNews “Talkline” last week this was a temporary fix as the pay raise bill is considered.