BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Alabama Department of Corrections is trying hard to be an attractive career option. And current employees are optimistic that it will help with the current situation.
Corrections Officer Travis Ivey has seen a lot since joining Staton Correctional Facility 13 years ago.
“You know, a lot of different things that can range from inmates being stabbed, inmates being hurt,” says Ivey.
It’s difficult to recruit. Alabama prisons are notoriously overcrowded and understaffed.
“Something that’s kind of hard to do because of the dangers that they see, walking through the facilities, it still shakes them,” said Ivey.
Another problem in our prisons—contraband. Just Wednesday, Officer Willie McLemore was arrested and charged with using his official position for financial gain.
Ivey says many officers don’t feel they’re being paid well enough. “It makes it hard for an inmate to bribe an officer when he’s being paid properly to do his job.”
A new law signed by the governor includes a 2% cost-of-living adjustment. And those newly hired will be eligible for up to a 5% probationary increase. The bill also provides for recruiting and retention bonuses ranging from $4,500 - $7,500. They hope this will help put more boots on the ground.
“Which increases the ratio for officers to inmates. Where right now they could be manning a dorm of 200 by themselves, we bring on more officers and we have more of them, it could be three to four officers manning that one dorm. This is a tremendous step for the department and it is well-deserved,” says Public Information Specialist Samantha Banks.
Another huge incentive—if officers don’t use all their annual leave time by the end of the year, they can be reimbursed for up to 80 hours.