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Eye On Boise

New Idaho prisons chief wants higher pay for prison staffers

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The new director of the Idaho Department of Corrections is asking lawmakers to approve a significant pay increase for experienced prison staffers in hopes of reducing the department's high turnover rate. Kevin Kempf told members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Wednesday that it costs about $15,000 to hire and train new correctional officers, but the majority of them are leaving the department within two years. More than half of Idaho's prison supervisors and about 64 percent of the state's correctional officers have less than two years' experience. Kempf says inexperience and high turnover rates are often found to be a contributing factor to prison riots elsewhere and could put Idaho at risk. He's asking for a pay increase totaling roughly $2.7 million, with experienced staffers receiving a 6 percent increase this year, followed by a 5 percent increase next year. Kempf is also seeking a 6 percent increase for new staffers after their first year, with the chance for a merit raise over the next four years.

AP reporter Rebecca Boone has a full report here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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