CoreCivic officials are examining how a planned raise for state correctional officers will affect staffing at its privately run facilities, including the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center.

On Dec. 15, Gov. Bill Lee announced that the Tennessee Department of Correction would increase starting pay for correctional officers by 37%, making the annual starting pay for such positions $44,500. In addition, current security staff will receive a pay increase of no less than 15%.

“As we face staffing shortages across the country, rewarding officers with competitive pay will ensure we recruit and retain the most highly qualified individuals in our workforce,” Lee said in a press statement. “These Tennesseans play a crucial role in ensuring public safety and we remain committed to valuing their important work.”

The move comes amid continuing staffing shortages at Tennessee prisons, and Trousdale Turner is no exception. At October’s meeting of the Prison Relations Committee, TTCC Warden Martin Frink said the facility was running with about 100 vacancies for correctional officers.

CoreCivic currently pays $16.50 per hour for COs at Trousdale Turner with an increase to $17.50 after six months, according to its website. That has been the highest hourly pay for prison guards in the state.

The company said while the announced changes only apply to state employees, it would examine whether pay increases are warranted at its facilities in response.

“The Department’s announced wage changes apply to state employees. We regularly monitor changes to the market and consult with our government partners on needed adjustments to ensure parity and, above all else, the ability to hire and retain staff at levels that ensure safe and secure operations. We will be assessing these announced changes and continue to have dialogue with the Department about the invaluable role of our dedicated employees, while advocating for parity,” said Matthew Davio, Public Affairs Manager for CoreCivic.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or

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