Jobs and the wages they command are the two most significant and important issues in these times of economic downturn. They are so important that 48 U.S. correctional systems responded to the current survey. Ontario, Canada, also provided information and is noted on the survey tables but not included in this summary.
The correctional systems were asked to provide salary ranges for four levels: training wages, entry level after hire, after the first year of employment and salaries for captains or their equivalent positions. The systems in Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio and Oregon responded that training wages do not apply within their systems. In this survey Massachusetts pays $45,166 per year, the highest beginning training wage among respondents. Three responding systems reported a top wage for the training period category: Iowa at $50,794, Tennessee at $37,272 and Texas at $30,122.
After completing the training period, correctional officers in Colorado are paid $39,336 per year, and $45,166 per year in Massachusetts. The top entry-level wages for the category are $62,112 in Massachusetts, $55,812 in Colorado, $53,880 in Oregon, $52,790 in Rhode Island and $52,012 in Nevada.
After the first year of employment, a correctional officer can earn up to $77,274 in New Jersey, $63,698 in Pennsylvania or, again, $62,112 in Massachusetts. The starting wage for captains or their equivalents is significantly higher. For instance, California reported that salary level as $98,856 per year, New Jersey pays $75,719, New York pays $70,514 and Oregon follows at $61,812 per year. At the top level of the category, New Jersey's captains can earn up to $109,297 per year, while captains earn $108,984 per year in California, $88,181 in New York and $86,688 in Oregon.
In addition to the wages reported in Table 1, respondents also provided information on receiving payment for shift differentials, roll calls, direct care, longevity and other options. Twenty-seven responding systems report offering a shift differential, primarily adding less than $1 per hour, while Idaho, Michigan, Nevada and Wyoming add five percent to the base pay. Ten of the reporting systems offer added wages for roll calls. Relative to direct care, only Connecticut (specifically for hazardous duty) and Maine provide benefits. Wage options for longevity are varied depending on rank and years of service. As examples...