prison guards

Lee boosts pay for Tennessee prison guards

Republican Bill Lee speaks at a rally in Franklin on Oct. 17, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee is boosting starting pay by 37% for newly hired prison guards and hiking salaries by at least 15% for current corrections officers.

State Sen. Ken Yager (R-Kingston) praised the move:

“This is great news not only for the deserving workers who receive the pay raise and their families, but for the safety of all Tennesseans. These positions are extremely important to operations in our prisons and are some of the most challenging and dangerous jobs in state government.  Governor Lee’s action to increase salaries is critical in keeping our veteran officers on the job whose valuable experience helps to make our prisons safe. The increase in salaries will benefit many correctional officers and help alleviate the problem Tennessee has experienced in filling and keeping correctional officers in a very competitive labor market.”

Here’s the release from the governor’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced a competitive 37% salary increase for new Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) correctional officers amid nationwide staffing challenges, effective Dec. 16.

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

The 37% salary increase for new TDOC correctional officers will raise annual starting pay to $44,500. Current security staff will receive a minimum 15% pay increase.

Additionally, TDOC provides a competitive benefits package including:

  • Insurance coverage and retirement benefits
  • Paid holidays and vacation
  • Tuition reimbursement and college degree programs
  • Equipment and uniforms provided
  • Overtime/compensatory time pay

TDOC will continue to offer a $5,000 hiring bonus and part-time opportunities for current or retired law enforcement to meet staffing needs.

“The men and women who work in facilities across Tennessee are dedicated public servants,” said TDOC Interim Commissioner Lisa Helton. “This salary increase makes our agency more competitive in attracting new talent and is a well-deserved raise for those currently serving our state.”

Individuals interested in a TDOC career can find more information and apply here.