New Correctional Officer Salary Adjustment
Recruitment and retention of correctional staff remains a top priority for the agency. Historically, the challenge has been greatest when the Texas economy is growing and unemployment is low, and with the state’s unemployment rate falling to its lowest level in four decades, 2017 has been no exception. Vacant correctional officer positions have steadily increased over the past several months from 2,156 to 3,688. Additionally, the correctional officer turnover rate in Fiscal Year 2017 was 28.2%, the highest in recent history. Within that number, the turnover rate for correctional officers within their first year of employment is nearly 42%.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has revised and implemented several initiatives relating to correctional officer recruitment and retention to include:
- Adjustments to the recruitment bonus at select units,
- Enhanced recruiting efforts in communities across the state and in bordering states,
- Increased use of social media,
- Additional training academy dates and locations, and
- Increased focus on management and core values training.
As an additional effort to address the operational challenge posed by an increasing number of correctional officer vacancies, the correctional officer career ladder will be adjusted to increase the starting pay of a newly hired correctional officer and reduce the number of steps at the beginning of the career ladder. These changes provide a significant impact to both recruitment and retention during the critical early months of employment which is when the majority of our turnover occurs. Correctional Officers in Pre-Service Training or those assigned to units who have not yet reached the CO III level will also be adjusted to the new level. The table below depicts the adjustments, to be effective February 1, 2018: