The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) is increasing correctional officer pay to out-compete other agencies for good recruits.

Pay for correctional officer trainees will start at $50,712, a 51.9% increase from $33,381. The pay will be even more for those working in medium or high-security facilities: $53,244 and $55,855, respectively.

ADOC commissioner John Hamm told legislators last year the agency was struggling with officer hiring and retention. At that time, ADOC had 541 open positions. Hamm said when competing with local jails that offered twice the pay, it was difficult to find anyone willing to work for ADOC.

In a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center against ADOC, Judge Myron Thompson stated that understaffing was one of the main issues facing ADOC. He ordered the state to hire more correctional employees after finding that prisons in Alabama were so inadequate he believed it violated the Constitutional rights of prisoners.

The pay increase will go into place Thursday.

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