CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia corrections employees are another step closer to receiving a pay raise.

The state House of Delegates passed a bill Monday that would give those employees a $6,000 raise over a three year period. The vote was 99-0.

The bill (HB 4142) would include pay increases for all staff including uniform officers and non-uniform employees at West Virginia’s prisons, jails and juvenile centers. Employees would get $2,000 per year.

The starting pay for officers is currently $24,664.

In addition to the low pay, the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety is also facing a staffing shortage. There are more than 700 vacancies. Because of the shortage, employees have to work long hours.

“We are forced then to pay over time to the remaining correctional officers by the millions,” said Delegate Tom Fast (R-Fayette, 32).

Fast, who voted for the bill, told House members passage of the bill would bring West Virginia in line with other states.

“With the $6,000 increase, it’ll get it close to the middle. The theory is that number one, we’re going to retain our correctional officers and number two, we’re going to reduce drastically the amount of overtime that we have to pay,” he said.

House Finance Committee Chair Eric Nelson (R-Kanawha, 35) said funding for the pay raises in the Division of Corrections and the Division of Juvenile Services would come out of the state’s general revenue. The salary adjustment for Regional Jails would come out of the special revenue fund.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

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