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Delegate Patrick Hope Raises Concerns for Issues Facing Correctional Officers Across Virginia Print

NR 2013-05

For Immediate Release

February 1, 2013



Richmond - Patrick A. Hope (VA-47) joined representatives of the Virginia State Council and the Virginia Chapter of the National Coalition of Public Safety Officers to discuss problems that Correctional Officers face across our Commonwealth.

Hope introduced a budget amendment providing for a 5% salary increase for officers as Virginia needs a sustainable wage for these state workers.  State employees are hurting and this is especially true for our Correctional Officers, whose salaries fall close to $10,000 below the national average and many, are forced to work multiple jobs to make ends meet.

Hope said, “Virginia's correctional officers are under an inordinate amount of stress and deserve to be treated the same as other law enforcement officers.  It's a sad commentary on Virginia that some correctional officers have to work two or three jobs just to make ends meet, while many others live on food stamps.  If Virginia lawmakers do not make a meager 5 percent pay raise a priority, then we need to change our priorities.”

Donald Baylor representing the Virginia Chapter of the National Coalition of Public Safety Officers worked for nearly twenty seven years as a Correctional Officer, Corrections Sergeant and Correctional Lieutenant.  Baylor said, “Over my career, I experienced and witnessed horrific events, some were life threatening and most if not all were very traumatic.”  Furthermore, “Many of us watched our cost of living and merit pay increases taken away in 1983 by the General Assembly. Since that time many of us have watched our quality of life fade away bit by bit each year, yet the expectations and demands for mistake free performance have steadily increased each year and with each new Administration.”

Calvin Parker, a Correction Officer for over ten years, has been employed with the Department at Deep Meadow Correctional Center, Southampton Correctional Center and currently works at the Indian Creek Correctional Center.  Parker stated, “Over my tenure, I too have experienced some events that have been life threatening and very traumatizing. I am committed to the Department and give everything I have got when I take my post. Once I was certified, I realized that my life would be on the line for the job that I do, but I never thought that I would have to fight this hard to receive a proper pay increase in order to care for my family.”

Studies through the Department of Justice and other sources show that the job of a Correction Officer is one of the most stressful forms of employment in our nation, carrying stress levels and suicide rates registering about 39% above the rest of the adult population.  These officers often work in a close environment with convicted felons carrying all types of infectious disease not mention the constant threat of physical injury or even death.

Delegate Roslyn Tyler (D-75) concluded that “The 8,000 correction officers who risk their lives every day to protect our children, families and the Commonwealth of Virginia deserve a 5 percent increase in salary. These public safety officers are entitled the respect and appreciation of all Virginians and giving them a 5 percent increase in salary is just the right thing to do."

Patrick A. Hope is a Member of the Virginia General Assembly as the Delegate from the 47th District representing part of Arlington County.  He serves on the Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee and House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee.


Media Contact:

Mary P. Dooley, Legislative Assistant

Delegate Patrick Hope

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