A Closer Look at Alabama’s Recent Pay Raises for Probation Officers

A Closer Look at Alabama’s Recent Pay Raises for Probation Officers

Alabama Probation Officer Pay Raise at a Glance:

  • 5% Pay Raise: Effective from Oct. 1
  • 2% Cost-of-Living Adjustment: Effective from Sept. 1
  • Performance-Based Increases: 5% for qualifying probationary officers
  • Recruitment and Retention Bonuses: $4,500 – $7,500 range


The recent Alabama probation officer pay raise is a significant step toward improving both the recruitment and retention of officers in Alabama. This initiative is part of a broader effort to bolster the state’s correctional system and ensure safer and more effective operations within the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC).

Key Updates:

  • Two-step 5% Pay Raise
  • 2% Cost-of-Living Adjustment
  • Bonuses for Additional Training and Career Milestones

“Increasing compensation for our security workforce is crucial to recruiting qualified new employees and retaining current ADOC personnel who carry out critical, meaningful work across the state of Alabama,” said ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn.

These enhancements are seen as essential elements of the ADOC’s 2019-2022 Strategic Plan. They aim to address long-standing issues of understaffing and the challenging conditions faced by officers, ultimately leading to improved safety for both staff and inmates.

Alabama Probation Officer Pay Raise: The Basics

The recent Alabama probation officer pay raise is a direct result of House Bill 468 (HB468). Gov. Kay Ivey signed this pivotal legislation into law on May 29, 2019. This bill marks a significant step forward for the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), aiming to improve the compensation and working conditions for correction officers across the state.

Legislation: HB468

HB468 introduced a comprehensive update to the pay structure for probation officers. This legislation includes:

  • A two-step, 5% pay raise for correction officers.
  • Expanded incentive programs offering bonuses for additional training and career milestones.

Governor Ivey’s Role

Gov. Kay Ivey played a crucial role in the passage of HB468. By signing this bill into law, she underscored the state’s commitment to addressing the critical staffing issues within the ADOC. According to ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn, “Increasing compensation for our security workforce is crucial to recruiting qualified new employees and retaining current ADOC personnel who carry out critical, meaningful work across the state of Alabama.”

These legislative changes are part of a broader strategy to enhance the effectiveness and safety of Alabama’s prison system. The updates include salary increases, probationary increases, recruitment and retention bonuses, and new position classifications.

The next section will delve into the specific key changes in the pay structure, including salary increases, probationary increases, and bonuses.

Key Changes in the Pay Structure

Salary Increases

One of the most significant updates in Alabama’s pay structure for probation officers is the salary increase. The new legislation includes a 2% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) effective September 1. Additionally, there is a one-time, 5% raise for employees in specific correctional officer series, effective October 1. This dual approach helps to ensure that salaries keep pace with inflation and provide a substantial boost to employee earnings.

Example: The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) implemented these changes to help meet the goals outlined in their 2019-2022 Strategic Plan. The plan focuses on improving recruitment and retention by making the compensation more competitive.

Probationary Increases

For probationary employees, the new pay structure introduces a guaranteed 5% increase upon successful completion of the probationary period. This increase is designed to reward employees who meet performance expectations and encourage them to continue their careers with the ADOC.

Performance Expectations: The probationary increase is contingent upon meeting specific performance criteria, as recommended by the employee’s immediate supervisor and approved by the appointing authority. This ensures that only those who demonstrate satisfactory job performance receive the increase.


In addition to salary increases and probationary raises, the new pay structure includes various bonuses aimed at improving recruitment, retention, and professional development.

Recruitment and Retention Bonuses: These bonuses range from $4,500 to $7,500 and are designed to attract new hires and retain existing employees. Given the staffing shortages in Alabama’s correctional facilities, these bonuses are crucial for maintaining an adequate workforce.

Training Milestones: The ADOC has also introduced bonuses for employees who achieve certain training milestones. These bonuses incentivize continuous professional development and ensure that staff are well-equipped to handle their responsibilities.

Special Merit and Incentive Bonuses: An appointing authority can recommend special merit bonuses for exceptional acts performed outside of normal duties. These lump-sum payments are not included in the calculation of retirement or other benefits but serve as a significant financial reward for outstanding performance.

Retention or Incentive Bonuses: Designed to retain employees in essential or critical positions, these bonuses are lump-sum payments that also do not affect retirement calculations.

Example: The ADOC recently announced a new promotional classification, Correctional Security Guard Senior, which comes with additional pay steps and location differentials for certain facilities. This helps to address salary compression and provides clearer career progression for employees.

These comprehensive changes in the pay structure aim to make Alabama’s probation officer positions more attractive, improving both recruitment and retention rates. This is a crucial step in ensuring that the state can maintain a well-staffed and effective correctional system.

Alabama Correctional Officer - alabama probation officer pay raise

Impact of Pay Raises on Recruitment and Retention

The recent pay raises for Alabama’s probation officers are part of a strategic effort to enhance recruitment and retention within the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC). This initiative is aligned with the goals outlined in the ADOC’s 2019-2022 Strategic Plan, which focuses on four key areas: staffing, infrastructure, programming, and culture.

ADOC Goals and Strategic Plan

ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn emphasized the importance of the department’s employees, stating, “Our employees are our greatest assets and the key to improving prisons in Alabama.” The new pay structure is crucial for attracting qualified new employees and retaining current personnel.

Employee Retention

Retention of existing staff has been a significant challenge for the ADOC. Commissioner John Hamm noted that the department had experienced a decline in correctional officer staffing for about eight quarters. However, recent pay raises have started to stabilize this trend. Hamm explained, “We have to retain the ones we have. Because of this new pay plan, we can hire 500, but if we lose 500, then it absolutely does nothing.”

Recruitment Efforts

The pay raises have also positively impacted recruitment. Since the introduction of the Basic Correctional Officer position in May, the ADOC has seen a 158% increase in applications. This new entry-level position, along with salary increases and bonuses, aims to attract a broader pool of candidates, including high school graduates and those with associate or four-year degrees.

Strategic Incentives

The ADOC’s approach includes various incentives such as recruitment and retention bonuses ranging from $4,500 to $7,500, and optional excess annual leave payouts. These incentives are designed to make the roles more appealing and competitive in a tight labor market.

In summary, the pay raises are a critical component of the ADOC’s strategy to build a more robust and committed workforce. By improving compensation, the ADOC aims to enhance both recruitment and retention, ultimately leading to a safer and more effective correctional system in Alabama.

Comparing Alabama’s Pay Scale with Neighboring States

When discussing the Alabama probation officer pay raise, compare it to neighboring states to understand its impact and significance.

Southeastern Average

In the Southeastern United States, the average salary for law enforcement officers varies significantly. Alabama troopers, for example, rank last in the region, earning under $70,000 annually. This is in stark contrast to neighboring states, where salaries are notably higher.


Take Tennessee as a case in point. A Tennessee trooper can earn up to $90,000 annually. This significant difference in pay makes it challenging for Alabama to compete for qualified candidates. The higher salaries in Tennessee not only attract new recruits but also retain experienced officers who might otherwise consider moving to higher-paying states.

Salary Discrepancies

The salary discrepancies are not just limited to troopers. The broader law enforcement community in Alabama faces similar challenges. Under Rep. Phillip Pettus’ proposed House Bill 1, the pay scale adjustments aim to bring Alabama more in line with the Southeastern average. For instance, a trooper trainee under the new proposal would start at $51,727, while a fully trained trooper would have a minimum salary of nearly $57,000 and a maximum of $95,800. These adjustments are designed to make Alabama’s law enforcement roles more competitive.

Impact on Recruitment and Retention

The discrepancies in pay have tangible effects on recruitment and retention. Alabama’s Department of Corrections (ADOC) has already seen positive results from recent pay raises. ADOC Commissioner John Hamm reported that the new pay scales have reversed a trend of declining staff numbers. For example, correctional officer trainees now start at around $51,000, which is $12,000 to $15,000 more than before.

By addressing these salary gaps, Alabama aims to not only attract new recruits but also retain seasoned officers who are crucial for maintaining a robust and effective law enforcement system.

Law enforcement officers - alabama probation officer pay raise

This comparison underscores the importance of alabama probation officer pay raise initiatives in leveling the playing field and ensuring that Alabama can attract and retain the best talent in law enforcement.

Next, we’ll explore how JED™ Platform supports probation officers with innovative tools and services.

How JED™ Platform Supports Probation Officers

Probation officers play a vital role in the criminal justice system. To help them perform their duties effectively, the JED™ Platform offers several innovative tools and services. Here’s a closer look at how our platform supports probation officers:

Pretrial Software

JED™ Platform provides a comprehensive pretrial software solution that simplifies the management of pretrial diversion programs. Our software is ready out of the box but can be customized to meet the specific needs of any jurisdiction. With a unified dashboard, probation officers can easily communicate across units and interact with clients.

Risk Assessments

Accurate risk assessments are crucial for making informed decisions about pretrial release and supervision. JED™ Platform uses empirical data to provide unbiased assessments of an individual’s risk level. This helps probation officers determine whether a person can be safely released into the community before their trial. Our risk assessment tools are designed to improve public safety and ensure fair treatment.

Monitoring Services

Effective monitoring is key to ensuring compliance with court-ordered conditions. JED™ Platform offers a robust monitoring system that includes three levels of supervision. This allows probation officers to keep track of individuals and ensure they follow the rules. Our monitoring services help reduce administrative costs while increasing appearance rates and better pretrial release decisions.

By providing these essential tools and services, JED™ Platform aims to make the work of probation officers more efficient and effective. This support is particularly important in light of recent alabama probation officer pay raise initiatives, which aim to attract and retain skilled officers in the state.

Next, we’ll explore the future outlook and ongoing adjustments in Alabama’s efforts to improve compensation for law enforcement officers.


The recent Alabama probation officer pay raise is a significant step towards addressing long-standing issues within the state’s correctional system. These changes are not just about increasing salaries; they are part of a broader strategy to improve recruitment, retention, and overall job satisfaction among probation officers.

Future Outlook

The pay raises are expected to have a positive impact on the ADOC’s long-term goals. With the new salary structure, Alabama aims to become more competitive with neighboring states like Tennessee, where law enforcement officers earn significantly more. This alignment with regional standards is crucial for attracting qualified candidates and retaining experienced personnel.

Jeff Dunn, ADOC Commissioner, emphasized the importance of these changes, stating, “Increasing compensation for our security workforce is crucial to recruiting qualified new employees and retaining current ADOC personnel who carry out critical, meaningful work across the state of Alabama.” This sentiment underscores the department’s commitment to creating a safer, more effective correctional environment.

Ongoing Adjustments

While the recent pay raises mark a significant improvement, ongoing adjustments will be necessary to sustain these gains. The ADOC has already seen a 158% increase in applications for the new Basic Correctional Officer position, indicating that the changes are beginning to pay off. However, the department still faces challenges, such as understaffing and the need for more officers to manage programs that reduce recidivism.

John Hamm, the current ADOC Commissioner, highlighted the ongoing need for more officers, stating, “We’ve got to be around 2,700 or 3,000 correctional officers to be able to do the things we need to do on the inside, all the programs we need to run because this is the business that we do not want repeat customers.”

As Alabama continues to adjust its compensation and recruitment strategies, the focus will remain on creating a sustainable and effective workforce. This includes not only competitive salaries but also comprehensive training programs and career advancement opportunities.

By staying committed to these ongoing adjustments, Alabama can ensure that its correctional system is staffed with dedicated, well-compensated professionals who are equipped to handle the challenges of modern law enforcement.

For more information on how JED™ Platform supports probation officers with advanced tools and services, visit our Probation Officer Pay page.

This section wraps up the article, emphasizing the positive impact of the pay raises while acknowledging the need for ongoing adjustments to sustain these improvements. It also provides a call-to-action for readers to explore more about JED™ Platform’s support for probation officers.