Tennessee corrections officers get pay raise as shortages persist

Tennessee will increase its starting salary for correctional officers by 37%, Gov. Bill Lee announced Wednesday.

Current security personnel will also receive a minimum 15% pay raise, a press release from Lee’s office said. The changes will go into effect Thursday across the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

The annual salary for new correctional officers will be set at $44,500 and hiring bonuses of $5,000 will continue, according to the statement. The move comes as employers struggle to hire workers across the country.

“As we face staffing shortages across the country, rewarding officers with competitive compensation will ensure that we recruit and retain the most qualified people in our workforce,” Lee said in the statement. “These Tennesseans play a crucial role in ensuring public safety, and we remain committed to valuing their important work.”

The department also offers benefits such as insurance coverage, retirement packages, tuition reimbursement, and overtime pay. Part-time opportunities for current or retired law enforcement personnel remain open to meet staffing needs, the statement said.

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“The men and women who work at Tennessee institutions are dedicated public servants,” the department’s acting commissioner, Lisa Helton, said in the statement. “This salary increase makes our agency more competitive in attracting new talent and is a well-deserved raise for those currently serving our state.”

Find journalist Rachel Wegner at [email protected] or on Twitter @rachelannwegner.

William M. Mayer