Virginia prisons seek to boost salaries amid staffing crisis

Virginia News

In this April 16, 2020, photo a gloved hand points to a holding cell at the hospital ward of the Twin Towers jail in Los Angeles. Across the country first responders who’ve fallen ill from COVID-19, recovered have begun the harrowing experience of returning to jobs that put them back on the front lines of America’s fight against the novel coronavirus. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia prison officials say they are experiencing a severe staffing crisis. They’re seeking to increase starting salaries by about 25 percent in an attempt to recruit and retain correctional officers.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the Department of Corrections says it is facing a shortage of more than 1,600 correctional officers.

They say the staff shortage jeopardizes security and safety for inmates, staff and the public.

The COVID-19 pandemic, enhanced unemployment benefits, non-competitive salaries and the availability of less-demanding jobs have exacerbated the difficult job of recruiting officers.

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