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Department of Corrections, union reach agreement on pay raise

Wire fence.
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Wire fence.

The Montana Department of Corrections and the union for state corrections officers have come to an agreement on raising pay.

According to the department, corrections officers at the state prison in Deer Lodge will see a $2 an hour raise and changes to the prison’s employee grievance procedure as a result of union negotiations. Prior to the latest agreement, starting wages at the prison were about $16 an hour.

In January, the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge reported that 18% of corrections officer positions were vacant. Department of Corrections Director Brian Gootkin has told lawmakers that low pay is to blame for the staffing shortage, which he said led to the assault of an officer.

On Thursday, Gootkin said he hopes the pay raise will help recruit and retain corrections officers.

Copyright 2022 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Shaylee is a UM Journalism School student. She reports and helps produce Montana Evening News on MTPR.