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In fiscal 2017, TDCJ facilities in Hartley County had a 59 percent turnover rate, one of only three counties over the 50 percent mark.
The other two Mitchell and Dawson counties are in the oil-rich Permian Basin.
According to California data, ratios there are closer to 1-to-5.
One of the challenges in staffing Texas prisons is the low wages.
Officer pay starts at around ,000 per year, with increases at three and nine months. "If you want the staff to stay and having experienced staff is critical for effective prison operations then the pay has to increase significantly," said Michele Deitch, a senior lecturer at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.
"I was told this by a warden they've caught correctional officers making more in selling contraband cigarettes than they're making from the state." Unlike in some other states, such as California and New York, Texas jailers are not certified peace officers, which means they're not eligible for the more generous Schedule C pay scale.
"Texas correctional officers are treated no better than most security guards," Lowry said.