U.S. REP. RANDY WEBER — It’s time to pay our correctional officers fairly

Published 12:02 am Friday, October 6, 2023

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The American criminal justice system relies on the dedicated men and women who work tirelessly behind the scenes, often away from the spotlight.

Correctional officers play a vital role in maintaining order and security within our prisons and ensuring the rehabilitation of inmates. However, their demanding job is often underappreciated, and their compensation doesn’t always reflect the challenges they face daily.

Beaumont is home to three of our nation’s federal prisons, all housed at the Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) Beaumont. The facility provides jobs to hundreds of hardworking individuals who call Beaumont home.

These correctional officers are not just employees; they are our friends, neighbors and constituents.

For far too long, Bureau of Prison (BOP) facilities in rural areas and employees working in designated ‘Rest of U.S.’ jurisdictions located near metropolitan areas —as is the case with FCC Beaumont — have been subjected to lower pay rates even though they have higher costs-of-living for working near major cities.

In the United States, we have 122 prison facilities, and 79 of the facilities fall into the “Rest of U.S.” category, leading to understaffed prisons and overworked employees, creating a dangerous work environment for staff.

In May, I introduced the Pay Our Correctional Officers Fairly Act to rectify this shortcoming by ensuring that these hardworking individuals get the pay they deserve for their tireless service.

An estimated 67 facilities, including FCC Beaumont, would benefit from my bill.

This legislation recognizes the need for competitive salaries and improved benefits for correctional officers.

By offering competitive compensation, we can attract and retain qualified professionals in this field. A well-compensated workforce is not only beneficial for those who serve but also enhances the safety and security of our prisons, reducing turnover rates and ultimately saving taxpayer dollars.

I have met with and spoken firsthand to correctional officers in Beaumont. These are the salt of the earth folks protecting our community.

Thank you to all of our correctional officers for what you do on a day-to-day basis.

You are on the front line, and I have your back in Congress. I’m hopeful that we can get this bill over the finish line.

U.S. Rep. Randy Weber serves Texas’ 14th District, which includes much of the Golden Triangle. His Beaumont office is located at 350 Pine St. and can be reached at 409-835-0108.