Prisons Given 30 Million Dollar Budget For Air Conditioning Yet They Still Don’t Have It
Our state can’t get their shit together even when they have the money to do it.
Last year, after being asked numerous times, the North Carolina general assembly approved $30 million to address a long-standing issue regarding air conditioning in the state’s prisons. Sounds great, right? Don’t get it twisted, like anything else regarding the government, there’s a lot of red tape involved. But beyond that, though inmates will benefit, it had not one damn thing to do with inmate comfort.
COs are the reason the budget was passed at all, or really, the lack of them. The camp where I’m housed is severely short staffed. If asked, they’ll tell you it’s due to COVID-19, which might be part of the problem, but NCDPS had an employee shortage problem before the pandemic. In 2019, they’d begun to fix their issue after dealing with things like income complaints from those who’d worked for the system for quite some time.
Nothing says, “Gee, I want to keep working for an industry!” like finding out someone your junior can earn your “senior” salary almost immediately! So, the DPS had to start working on incentives to keep their more senior staff complacent and in their employ — they managed to get their unfilled slots down to somewhere around 16 percent.
Once the pandemic hit, the problem of open slots became an issue once again, coupled with rising wages in industries beyond the prison walls. Since COs claim their job is dangerous, and in some cases it can be, why should they stay in a career where they’re unappreciated and often met with violence for a pittance?
Unfulfilled positions are around 30 percent these days, with some prisons at 50 percent.
In the state of North Carolina, corrections officers earn a starting salary of $35,280, which works out to about $18 per hour. According to Salary.com that’s on the low end of average for a “qualified professional”. Considering the definition of qualified for most job postings on places like Zip Recruiter and the like are requiring a college degree, I’m not sure what COs are complaining about, since a degree is not required in order to do this job, just a high school…