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Kansas Boosts Prison Pay Amid Staff Shortages

Associated Press - August 18, 2017 12:02 pm

A top Democratic lawmaker says he is joining the crowded race to replace Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita announced his candidacy Saturday. He had named former Democratic Party chairman Lee Kinch as his campaign treasurer earlier this week.

Gov. Sam Brownback has announced pay raises at state prisons in the wake of inmate disturbances that have drawn public attention to staff shortages.

Uniformed officers across the state would receive about a 5 percent raise. Officers at El Dorado Correctional Facility will see raises of about 10 percent. The increase would kick in later this month if the employees’ union agrees.

Brownback says the state can fund the raises in the short term but lawmakers would have to find money next session to continue them.

The move would boost pay from $13.95 to $14.66 per hour statewide, and to $15.74 per hour at El Dorado.

Department of Corrections Secretary Joe Norwood says the higher pay in El Dorado facility is due to the tighter job market in that area.