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Florida Prison Employees Hope Lawmakers Will Grant Them Pay Raises In 2016

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Sascha Cordner
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WFSU-FM

Several correctional officers from across the state are hoping Florida lawmakers will consider raising their pay during the 2016 legislative session.

Ever heard of the term ghosting?

“We all know it’s not right because you’re putting everybody in danger,” said Union Correctional Sgt. Brian Cliffin.

Cliffin says it’s a way for an understaffed correctional facility to say they’re fully staffed. And, Kim Schultz, a probation officer from Miami, says it’s these types of situations that make a lot of people leave for better paying jobs. 

“And, we’re getting all these new officers,” said Schultz, who's worked 19 years for the prison agency. “Well, who’s to train them? There’s nobody senior to train them anymore because they’re leaving or they’re retiring. And, so, we’re not going to have as much of an experience in professional agency if we don’t raise the pay, and lure people back into the jobs.”

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Credit Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM
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WFSU-FM
Tangela Amos, a probation officer from Miami, speaks about the need for a pay raise for her family.

Over the past few months, she and other correctional employees, like Tangela Amos, are visiting lawmakers and telling their stories—hoping for a rise in pay. They're also hoping to get a meeting with Governor Rick Scott as well.

“We risk our livescorrectional officers and probation officersevery day,” said Amos, another probation officer from North Miami Beach. “And, I’d like to think that I guess I’d say appreciated for what I do, and not having a raise for nine years has put a financial strain on my family.”

Meanwhile, Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones has expressed similar views, hoping lawmakers and the Governor will look into increasing salaries.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.