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Noem Raises Prison Guard Starting Pay from $20 to $23.50/Hour

More than a year after sacking Corrections leadership and promising to address the labor shortageracial and sexual harassment, and poor working conditions in South Dakota’s prisons, Governor Kristi Noem yesterday announced immediate across-the-board pay raises for state prison personnel. The Governor’s press release says starting pay for correctional officers rises  from $20 an hour to $23.50 and security officers can now get up to $28 an hour.

Noem-appointed Secretary of Corrections Kellie Wasko says these raises are the “latest step” in the “tremendous progress” her department has made in addressing the problems that have persisted since the Governor’s photo-opp with guards last summer.

Nebraska raised starting pay from $20 to $28 last year and raised pay for sergeants to $32 an hour. As a result, Nebraska has been able to hire more than 400 new prison staff, reduce staff vacancies by more than half, and lift a staffing emergency at its state penitentiary.


  1. Nick Nemec 2022-08-19 07:23

    Considering the cost of housing in both Sioux Falls (main prison) and Pierre (woman’s prison) that still isn’t much.

  2. grudznick 2022-08-19 09:17

    That’s way too much money for people who can’t even get a Walmart or McDonalds job for $15/hour.

  3. Loren 2022-08-19 09:42

    Exactly, Grudz, we should reduce pay to $15/hr. It will save us a ton and things will get better immediately. Anyone else have any great ideas? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler? Anyone…

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