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News Leader: Budget Amendment Would Boost Guards' Pay Print

Created:  Wednesday, January 28, 2015 7:56AM

 

Joined by a group of prison guards, two legislators Tuesday called for a budget amendment to increase the salaries of correctional officers in Virginia.

Democratic Dels. Patrick Hope of Arlington and Kaye Kory of Falls Church said officers at the state's correctional facilities deserve a pay increase and better working conditions. The lawmakers said their proposed amendment to the state budget would boost correctional officers' salaries by 5 percent.

The last pay increase officers received was in 2007, Hope said at a press conference. He said he has seen firsthand what the officers must endure and the dangers they face dealing with potentially violent offenders.

"There is no reason why we have people in law enforcement that should be eligible for food stamps or other types of government programs," Hope said.

Don Baylor, an organizer for the Virginia chapter of the National Coalition of Public Safety Officers, also spoke at the press conference in support of the budget amendment. He said correctional officers who take on more than one job to make ends meets are putting themselves at risk because they get tired and working at a prison requires their full concentration and attention.

Baylor also said the men and women in the profession are dealing with higher stress levels and have higher suicide rates than most veterans returning from war.

Also at the news conference were three officers from Sussex II State Prison of the Virginia Department of Corrections. All three officers said they struggle with financial obligations and all have children to care for.


 



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