MOUNTAIN CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A Northeast Tennessee state representative said he has been in communication with the governor’s office to increase pay for correctional workers and prison staff.
Rep. Scotty Campbell (R-Johnson County) said he asked the governor’s office to allocate money to the Tennessee Department of Correction for a pay increase in the 2022-2023 budget.
Staff at the Northeast Correctional Complex, located in Campbell’s district, have complained about dangerous situations and long working hours due to short staffing. Campbell thought a pay raise could help bring more workers in.
“I do anticipate that they’re going to try to get the new hires and current employees up to $40-45,000 a year minimum to get them in the door and keep them in the door,” Campbell said.
Right now, those workers are paid just over $32,000.
The Department of Correction said in a statement they support legislative efforts to increase pay. The department currently offers a $5,000 signing bonus for new employees and is hiring part-time employees to help fill some gaps.
Campbell said his fellow legislators also support a pay increase to help the staffing issues.
“They understand the need for correctional officers, that it’s an unsafe work environment until there are more people up in there,” Campbell said.
Campbell said he thought the earliest a pay raise for prison workers could happen would be July 2022, if passed on the budget.