(07/13/2012)
While yet another study is being proposed to eliminate jail overcrowding in West Virginia, a new report shows a big problem hiring and retaining correctional officers in the Mountain State.

The report says officers are fleeing regional jails and prisons for better-paying jobs, with the state's pay-scale 49th in the nation for a starting salary.

Entry-level pay for correctional officers is just $22,584, just ahead of Mississippi.

The salary is $800 below the federal poverty level for a family of four.

West Virginia has the nation's worst inmate-to-guard ratio in prisons and ranks in the top 10 states for staff turnover.

Reports say that means inexperienced and often exhausted guards are managing an ever-growing and increasingly violent population.

West Virginia has near the highest rates of incarceration in America, capitated to the population.


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