DESOTO COUNTY-  Florida Prisons seeing an increase in job applications after a big pay raise was approved for Corrections Officers.  Officers this year saw an almost 8,000 dollar pay raise along with new hiring bonuses.

“These raises are really a boost of morale for everybody,” Warden Mercado said. “As you know the best advertisement is word of mouth so this pay raise was able to energize everyone to get the word out there.”

DeSoto Correctional Institute Warden Robert Mercado says staffing shortages took a toll during COVID, and it’s starting to turn around.

“When you have more help on line to help with those everyday missions that we have to do,” Warden Mercado said. “It’s always going to help everyone morale wise, just the attitude of everyone knowing you have staff available.”

The new base salary for Corrections officers is $41,6000 a year, and $48,000 a year for inspectors. And they are looking for people who want to start a career in public safety.

“It’s very rewarding to interact with inmates every day and try to rehabilitate the inmates,” Warden Mercado said. “To give that healing, to get them back in the community, to adjust in society in a positive manner.”

Warden Mercado says the raises are already helping recruitment.

“Our doors are opening every day,” Warden Mercado said. “Where we are getting interviews and advertisements every day, so every day it’s basically growing.”