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Gov. Carney to raise starting salary for correctional officers

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Gov. John Carney and the Correctional Officers Association of Delaware (COAD) on Monday agreed to raise the starting salaries of Delaware correctional officers.

The two-year agreement will raise salaries for new hires to $40,000 in 2018 and $43,000 in 2019. That’s a 22 percent increase over current salary levels.

The negotiations were based on starting salaries in surrounding states. The national median salary for correctional officers is $42,820, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“To be clear, making real improvements to our prison system won’t happen overnight,” Carney said. “But we are committed to working, over the long-term, to improving conditions for officers and inmates inside Delaware’s correctional facilities.”

In addition, the agreement creates a six-member Labor-Management committee to determine other potential changes that could improve retention and recruitment. The group will also alook into controversial policies such as 12-hour shifts and the “freeze policy” that forced overtime on officers during staffing shortages.

“We’re committed to taking the necessary action to address the issues facing our prison system,” said Perry Phelps, Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction. “This agreement to increase salaries will help us recruit and retain officers. And we will continue to work hand-in-hand with COAD to consider additional changes that will improve the working environment inside our facilities.”

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