DOVER, Del. - Through Governor Carney's budget proposal, one key investment is the security in Delaware's prisons.
The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center was the scene of a fatal hostage situation at the beginning of February that brought attention to a staffing shortage, and what some say are much needed changes.
These changes could come from Gov. John Carney's 2018 proposed budget as they are increasing the starting salary for correctional officers to over $37,000.
Mike Jackson is the director of the office of management and budget, as he explains they will use $4.5 million for a pay increase across the board.
Beyond that, there is $2.3 million being added in order to hire 75 new officers, along with $1.3 million dollars for new equipment and also training for CO's.
Despite Governor's Carney's efforts to address security issues at James T. Vaughn, COAD President Geoff Klopp says those budget raises are just not enough.
Klopp states, "To say we are disappointed is a huge understatement. A suggested pay raise of only $1,500 does not come close to meeting the needs of Delaware's correctional officers. Dozens of officers have already quit or retired and I expect several dozen, if not hundreds to do so now and a $1,500 pay raise won't keep them or attract any new officers."
Klopp tells 47 ABC the $8.1 million isn't enough to see results, as he says about $50 million dollars would be the appropriate amount.
We are told this amount would retain the current officers and it would make the salary attractive enough for people to fill out the application.
Klopp tells 47 ABC, they are down more than 100 officers and in the meantime, he says he is praying now more than ever for the current officers.
The Governor's office tells us they hope this budget will be a step in the right direction.
Klopp says COAD has patiently waited and that the Governor has promised to remedy the problems going on at James T. Vaughn. But he tells 47 ABC that his members will be very disappointed.
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