Bill Would Raise Prison Guard Pay
But, even with a proposed increase, Missouri would still rank only 43rd in the nation. A bill proposes basic officers receive a $50 a month raise for the first 10 years of service.
"We have people that are in our prisons that have been convicted of murder, rape, child molestation," said Brian Hauswirth of the Department of Corrections. "These guys, men and women, are on the front lines protecting the public, serving the public. We'd like to see them get a pay raise."
The department said Missouri has a 22% turnover rate for corrections officers.
"If salaries in Missouri were raised, the turnover rate would go down and it would also save losing officers to other states," explained the department's Gary Gross.
He said it costs at least $3,000 to train each officer, but that money is wasted when officers take higher-paying jobs in other states.
"We have seen some officers that have seen significant raises by going to other states," Gross added. "Some have gone to the federal government and some have gone to neighboring states. In some cases, they've received a $10,000 raise to do essentially the same job."
The House has passed the bill unanimously, and it is now waiting for Senate action.