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Non-uniformed jail personnel would be up for a raise under House bill

West Virginia’s non-uniformed corrections workers would receive pay raises under a bill advanced by the House Jails and Prisons Committee.

As committee discussion noted, uniformed corrections officers received pay raises as an outcome of a special legislative session in August. The bill currently moving would provide pay raises for their non-uniformed colleagues. HB 4734 is also referred to the House Finance Committee, and there has not yet been an assessment of the cost.

Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency in August 2022 because of the many vacancies in West Virginia’s jails and prisons. The National Guard was deployed to fill support roles in the facilities. Recently, state officials have said unfilled positions have begun to ease, and the National Guard presence can begin to subside.

This bill would provide a 3% pay raise for non-uniformed administrative staff who have accumulated three or more years of continuous employment with the corrections system.

Non-uniformed staff who haven’t yet been employed for three continuous years would receive the 3% raise once they do accumulate that number of years.

Delegate David Kelly, chairman of the Jails Committee, said after the meeting that the pay raise would be deserved.

“The committee wanted to advance a pay raise for these DCR non-uniformed employees. It’s a 3%. I wish it could be 10 or 15%, but we’re starting at a 3% with this and hopefully the lift won’t be too great and we can get it through both houses.”

Delegate Elliott Pritt, R-Fayette, noted that the Mount Olive Correctional Complex is a significant employer in the district he represents. Pritt says he hears regularly from constituents about the need for better pay for the workers there.

“They contact me frequently, and these people deserve a raise. They deserve a raise really on parity with what we gave correctional officers. So I really hope we’re able to show our appreciation for the dedication that they’ve given the people of our state because they really are doing a service, and they’ve been under appreciated for too long.”