Governor Kristi Noem has flattened the curve of vacancies in the Department of Corrections. According to DOC officials speaking to the Joint Appropriations Committee in Pierre yesterday, open jobs in South Dakota’s prison system have leveled off after climbing from around 50 in March 2021 to around 125 in October and November:
Vacancies climbed right through Noem’s purge of Corrections in July. The Governor has announced various pay increases (including a revision of holiday pay policy which she delayed until late last month and thus would not be reflected in the above trend). But part of the vacancy problem comes from the fact that DOC has been trying to increase its total staff throughout the Noem Administration:
Even with Noem’s efforts, turnover in DOC has increased over the last two fiscal years, and DOC is getting fewer applicants for guard posts at its three big prisons:
The Legislature has bills to build a new community work center for Corrections in Rapid City (Senate Bill 32) and improve health care facilities at the women’s prison in Pierre (Senate Bill 33). Neither the Governor nor legislators have submitted any bills to make permanent changes in pay, benefits, or working conditions for prison staff.