Meager Pay Cited for Lack of MT Prison Officers


The Montana State Prison is understaffed with officers, and officials say they are having trouble recruiting new hires because the job pays poorly, reports the Billings Gazette. Warden Mike Mahoney said the prison is short about 50 correctional officers, and he is forced to impose mandatory overtime on most days. One officer recently worked 100 hours of overtime in a two-week pay period.

Mahoney corrections officials in Helena are actively recruiting new officers and have been for months, but they face a litany of obstacles. There is little available housing near the prison in Deer Lodge. Hundreds of officers commute in from Butte – a 90-mile round trip. Beginning officers make $10.76 an hour, said Rae Ann Forseth, a Department of Corrections recruiter. That’s an annual wage of $22,380. McDonald’s in Bozeman is advertising positions at $10 an hour.


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