Hiring New Guards While the Older Ones are Planting Evidence – Part 1

Prison guards at a TDCJ prison.
Prison guards at a TDCJ prison.

Texas Prison Guards Pay and Vacancies

This is part one a two-part series on pay for Texas prison guards and the illegal quota system.

Increase in Pay for Prison Guards

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced back in February 2018, that starting officers (prison guards) would now be paid $36,000 per year instead of the beginning rate of $32,000 per year that was the standard. This is an attempt to make the pay more competitive and hopefully, prevent the 14% vacancy rate for prison guards and the 28% turnover rate.

While that is a substantial increase in pay, the officer’s union was less than thrilled since they are still pushing for higher increases and a higher pay scale which provides for more and larger raises depending on the length of time which the person has been employed by the system.

Pay Increase Only for New Hires

This, the most recent pay raise, only addresses new hires which have an even higher turnover rate of 42%.

According to an article by the Houston Chronicle from February 2018, in 2008 TDCJ bumped salaries without legislative appropriations, Jason Clark said. In May of that year, the starting salary went from roughly $23,000 to $25,400 – and correctional officer vacancies went down from 3,428 to 1,043 in a matter of months.


Currently, there are 3,652 vacancies and 22,160 filled positions.

The pay hikes aren’t a single-pronged approach. Last year the department doubled its signing bonus at certain units, and they have also bumped up recruitment efforts, added training academy dates and locations, and increased their use of social media.

Continue to Part 2

About the Author

Lawyer X
Lawyer X is the pen name of a former attorney who now spends all of his time writing and consulting. While in practice he was involved in both criminal and civil trials across the United States, including picking or helping to pick juries in hundreds of civil and criminal cases. In addition to his work as a trial lawyer, Lawyer X wrote articles, lectured at continuing legal education seminars, and was active in the legal community in many ways. He maintains anonymity now so that he can provide knowledge from inside and express honest opinions and viewpoints that other members of the legal community would just as soon weren't shared.