The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 8, 2008
California's correctional officer pay best in the nation, state

ccpoa.gifNew data released by the Department of Personnel Administration shows that California's state correctional officers make 38 percent more than their highest-paid counterparts in a survey of 10 states and the federal government.

DPA's numbers are more focused than those in the latest national correctional officers pay report by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. California correctional officers make about twice the national average when all 50 states are factored in, according to the BLS.

The DPA's out-of-state comparison considered federal corrections wages and those in neighboring Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Nevada plus heavily populated states Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. Throw in "total compensation" -- medical, dental and vision benefits, employer retirement contributions and the like -- and California correctional officers beat the median survey population by about 29 percent and the next highest -- Pennsylvania -- by about 24 percent.

The administration also looked at salaries paid to California city and county correctional officers. State officers earn about 20 percent more. With benefits the disparity falls to about 12 percent. You can read that page of the report by clicking here.

The comparisons are based on a California correctional officer's maximum base annual salary of $73,728, a national maximum median of $45,036 per year and a California city and county maximum median of $58,680.

The BLS survey shows the median state correctional officer salary at $36,140 per year and $34,820 for local governments.

Question: What, if anything, will these numbers mean to the ongoing contract battle between the Schwarzenegger administration and CCPOA? Will other unions attempt to leverage the information to an advantage as contract talks continue?

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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