correctional nursing pay rate

  1. I applied for a job at a local prison but the pay was much lower than I expected and i was nervous about that type of work as i tend to trust people I'm caring for, so i declined the job. I'm wondering what pay most of you are getting
  2. Visit lorita profile page

    About lorita

    Joined: Sep '00; Posts: 53; Likes: 5
    RN, ER
    Specialty: 15 year(s) of experience in ER Occ Health Urgent Care


  3. by   brejean
    Originally posted by lorita:
    I applied for a job at a local prison but the pay was much lower than I expected and i was nervous about that type of work as i tend to trust people I'm caring for, so i declined the job. I'm wondering what pay most of you are getting
    I wish I could tell you that the scale was higher, but as with alot of other nursing's not. I work in an Illinois male prison as a LPN. I have been there going on 9 years. The starting wage for a LPN is $9.50 an hour. Alot of Illinois prisons healthcare units are contracted, usually from out of state contractors who have very little knowledge (or care) of what we do on a daily basis. We recently became unionized, but wages won't change until 2001. I just made it over the $11.00 mark. You would think that with the type of clientel that we deal with on a daily basis, we would be worth just a "little" bit more than $9.50...especially when a CNA in our area makes more in starting wage than I do right now...with over 20 years of nursing experience. It's really too bad too, because I love the fact that this field is a combination of many, many specialities of nursing.
  4. by   auger1
    I work for the Oregon Department of Corrections. Oregon is not "Privatized" as some states are. It also is not a "right to work state". This means we have a very strong union so the pay is something like this:
    RN= 18 to 25 per hour (approx)
    LPN= 11 to 18 per hour (approx)
    This does not include the benifits nor the retirement program which the state picks adds 6 percent into.
    If you have experience in corrections you should look into Oregon.

    Above all,
    Have fun with life
  5. by   sa48sh
    Originally posted by lorita:
    I applied for a job at a local prison but the pay was much lower than I expected and i was nervous about that type of work as i tend to trust people I'm caring for, so i declined the job. I'm wondering what pay most of you are getting
    I've been working in corrections for 13 years. Now I'm at a prison but I have worked in a county jail(yuck). If you can stand the uncertainty of working for an agency, I'm making 25.00 an hour,with vacation/sick leave,401k,bonuses,and a new pay raise this month(don't know how much yet but probably another dollar). Florida is in the process of privatizing which has sent many scrambling for more secure state jobs.That of course has created a shortage driving up the price of corectional nurses. The private companies are now relying heavily on agency nurses to fill the gaps.The prison I work at just today, awarded a contract and all medical/psych staff will either be leaving or signing on with the new company. I on the other hand will be staying with my company and either travelling (13week contract) to areas where there is a shortage of correctional nurses(Maybe Yours!!). Or I will work at one of the local county jails.
    Either way you have to be fearless about lack of work and a little like a squirrel. Stow it away for the lean times and enjoy them lolling around on the beach instead of worring about money. I agree with the last responder, corrections offers lots of different experiences and a lot of autonomy I've been nursing for 25 years and in corrections for 13 years,and I love it.

  6. by   ShannonB25
    While we are on the subject, does anyone know the rate of pay for California corrections? Also, what type of experience should one have before applying for a job in this area? Thanks!!

    "The highest reward for man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it."-Johan Ruskin
  7. by   angil
    I recently left a RN position in corrections. Pay ranges in Michigan $22+ to $28+. All nurses in each classification make the same $, whether you are a new hire, or have been there years. LPN's on the other hand are at a significantly lower pay rate, and not shown nearly the amount of respect as RN's are.
  8. by   Rspet
    All of you need to get into the public Health service as correctional nurses. I make over 65 a year. I get the same pay as a military officer. I can't make this money anywhere else as a nurse. If you can't go Public health, go federal. The pay will always be better in a federal prison.
  9. by   Reblflowrs
    I recently started work here in a city jail in Va..The starting pay was $23,350.00 a year. I had previously moved here from Louisiana where wages were better, but had worked a yr and a half (here)in a cardiology office ( a VERY busy one) for less than this..
    We are always in the company of an officer or one very close..never in a room alone with one..
    I don't feel insecure. We have 400+ inmates on 3 floors. The more dangerous inmates are held in a high tech maximum security environment. The worst thing I can say ( aside from the pay) is that most of these people are habitual drug users and alcoholics...most are hep b or c pos...and a lot have aids..
    But in Va...the pay is low, so I opted for better benefits.
  10. by   sjoe
    In the San Diego county jail, the current rate for RNs is $37,461-$51,272 annually, while the rate for LVNs is $27,500-$30,389 annually. Per diem RNs are paid $28.14/hour with, of course, no benefits.
    (you can check the web site at
    It is substantially higher in the San Francisco county jail system, where I made over $35/hour per diem.
  11. by   JailRN
    Our Contract nurses, (per diem) make $30-33 an hour, I made just shy of 6 figures last year, plus benefits, union, etc. Here we don't hire LVN's, only RN's with ER, ICU, experience. We can be VERY busy or, we can just sit. There's a lot of liability, the city has to be kept free of lawsuits. That's our biggest job.
  12. by   Orca
    I make around $24 per hour plus diffs as an RN for the Nevada Department of Corrections. We have a union, but no collective bargaining at present. Benefits are decent, and the work is much less difficult than in a hospital (I suppose it helps that I work the night shift). One nice perk is that the state pays double-time-and-a-half for working holidays (and we have ten of those, not the usual three or four that private hospitals give). Nevada has two facilities that use private services rather than state employees for medical services, and the results have been less than stellar.

    The medical service at Ely State Prison is always advertising for staff (although to be fair, the location may have a lot to do with it). The Southern Nevada Women's Correctional Facility, however, is a different story. Located in Las Vegas, both the prison itself and medical are privately run. They cannot keep staff. They are constantly looking for a DON because they leave soon after they are hired, and the NDOC has had to loan doctors to them to cover the facility because the contractor can't keep them. Things were so bad that one recent hire reported that an agency nurse was conducting orientation! Check your license at the door, from what I have heard. Makes one want to think twice about privatization. While it may look good on paper, the staff servicing state inmates serve a different master (who may have different priorities), while the state retains a significant amount of liability.
  13. by   TerriRene
    Dallas area private prisons pay RN's $18 per hour regardless of amount of experience.
  14. by   Mrsgardener
    Please read this story about working in a prison.I have a DEAR FRIEND who has been exposed to HIV twice in 5 years. The first exposure, she got stuck by a Hiv+ Inmate's used diabetic lance that was put in his accucheck supply bag.It was left in there by error by a staff nurse. After 2 months treatment with those ulgy acting meds, she was neg after many Hiv test.THEN---3 years later-- while giving Hiv meds to another Hiv + Inmate that was just placed in seg for sexually harassing an Female Officer---spit on my friend's face , on her eyeglasses and in her eyes---three times rapidly and tried for a fourth time but she said that she jumped back. The Officer with her----just stood there with his hands in his pockets and did not pepper spray the Inmate.The other officer was outside smoking, which she questioned.The policy was for 2 officers to be with the nurse.--After taking the evil acting [ nausea, vomiting and diarrhea}Hiv med again for 2 months accompanying with depression and crying, the adminstration acted unconcerned. Her co-workers were the only ones who acted concerned along with friends like me.Anyone else have a situation that has occurred to you or a friend?