|The 1998 legislative session officially ended on Friday, May 1, amid the usual last-minute flurry of activity. The department monitored many issues relating to sentencing and enhanced penalties, community notification of inmate releases, sexual predator registration, safety and security enhancements for facilities and institutions, competitive area differentials and benefits for employees, faith-based programs, and budget measures. The following is a brief summary of the major issues and activities from this year's session:|
The 1998 Legislature appropriated a total budget of almost $1.6 billion for the Department of Corrections (DC), which included the following: Special Pay Additive: Funded a $1,900 special pay additive for correctional officers in counties where a Competitive Area Differential (CAD) was not in effect, beginning January 1, 1999. Security Enhancements: Provided nearly $65 million for fixed capital outlay projects, including $9.1 million to improve security systems, $15 million for new facilities, and over $22 million for secure housing units at existing institutions. Inmate Education and Job Training: Appropriated over $4 million for inmate education and training programs, including work squads, special education, and additional vocational and academic teachers. Community Corrections: Provided nearly $4.5 million for community corrections, including 94 positions and $3.5 million for close-risk supervision. Chaplaincy: Appropriated over $1.6 million for faith-based programs, including clerical support for chaplains and two chaplains to administer new pilot faith-based programs. Technology Initiatives: Funded over $5 million for technology initiatives, including offender records imaging, start-up funding for electronic pharmacy and satellite monitoring, and a mainframe upgrade.
Effective October 1, 1998, funds were provided in the 1998-99 Appropriations Act to increase the base rate of pay for eligible career service employees, including correctional officers and correctional probation officers as follows: Employees with annual salaries of $20,000 or less received an annualized increase of $1,200; those with annual salaries of $20,001 to $36,000 received an annualized increase of $1,000; and those with annual salaries of $36,001 or more received an annualized increase of 2.78%. Raises for Senior Management Service (SMS) and Select Exempt Service (SES) employees were discretionary; however, if the agency granted a salary increase, it had to be in accordance with the three-tiered schedule. Professional health care employees received a three percent competitive pay adjustment on their base rate of pay to be effective on the employee's anniversary date. On January 1, 1999, a $1,900 annual special pay additive became effective to increase the base salary for correctional officers in Regions I and II, in counties where a Competitive Area Differential (CAD) was not in effect. Officers in Regions III, IV, V and in counties in Region II where a CAD was in effect received the new $1,900 annual special pay additive to increase their base salary, reducing their existing CADs by $1,900.