BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards is proposing more than $21 million in guard pay raises for Louisiana’s prison system next year as the state struggles with recruiting and retaining people for correctional officer jobs.

The Department of Corrections says it has a prison guard vacancy rate of more than 36% - that's 400 unfilled guard positions - and a year-over-year turnover rate of 73%. The pay raises are included in Edwards' budget proposal for the year that begins July 1. Lawmakers will decide whether to fund it.

The Advocate reports the proposal involves a 10% pay raise for entry-level correctional officers to bump the starting wage from $13.97 to $15.37 per hour. And prison guards could get other retention pay incentives.


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