SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Correctional security officers in South Dakota will now have a starting pay of $23.50, Governor Kristi Noem announced Thursday.
The wage increase comes one year after a reckoning in the Department of Corrections (DOC) that has seen a change in leadership following allegations of sexual harassment, low pay and nepotism. During the 2022 budget address, Noem pledged millions of dollars to fix issues within the DOC.
In addition to the increased starting pay, a release from Noem’s office states that raises will be instituted for security officers up to $28 an hour.
“These permanent pay increases will assist us with recruiting and retaining quality correctional security officers,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “These increases show officers our appreciation for their service to our state. Sec. Wasko and I will continue to focus on solving problems and prioritizing the security of both our correctional officers and the inmates that they manage.”
Earlier this year, a review of the DOC found that there was a need for improvements to address turnover, safety, and a hostile work environment. One correctional officer told KELOLAND News in July that he didn’t feel the promises from Noem and the DOC had been kept.
DOC Secretary Kellie Wasko said in a statement that she hopes this improves safety and culture at the DOC.
“There is still much work left to do, including newer and safer facilities, and we are committed to getting that accomplished,” Wasko said.