RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday to provide correctional officers with a 5-percent raise, in addition to bonuses of at least $7,500 for officers at the highest vacancy prisons, according to a news release from Sen. Phil Berger’s office.
House Bill 609 will appropriate $92 million over two years for the raises and bonuses to correctional officers and permanent employees of adult correctional facilities with the Department of Public Safety, the release said.
“Correctional officers put their lives on the line every day, as we know from the tragedies in 2017. We all agree that raises and incentives are necessary to address dangerously low staffing levels, and they’ve been held up long enough over disagreements on unrelated issues. Correctional officer safety shouldn’t be hostage to separate disagreements,” said Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Prison Safety Bob Steinburg (R-Chowan).
HB609 also provides a one-time supplement of five annual leave days for permanent employees of adult correctional facilities with DPS, the release said.
The bill has been sent to the House.
Five prison employees were murdered in North Carolina prisons in 2017.
Among the deaths that year was Sgt. Meggan Callahan, who was beaten with a fire extinguisher at the prison in Windsor. Three officers were assaulted at the same prison in July.
Correctional officers have been calling for reforms to address on-job safety concerns and understaffing.
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