A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

There were 120 employees in the Michigan Department of Corrections who made more than $100,000 in 2010-2011, according to data obtained by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy through a Freedom of Information Act request.

One prison guard made $164,161. A registered nurse made $160,875. That's more than the highest-paid senior administrator, an executive warden who made $140,342.

The list of employees didn’t include names and took several attempts and four months to get the information from the state. There were 16,807 people on the Department of Corrections’ payroll.

Russ Marlan, spokesman for the Department of Corrections, said since names were not released it was “nearly impossible” to tell if the employees’ salaries were because of overtime or if the employees retired and were compensated for unused leave time.

Eight corrections officers made $100,000 or more in 2010-11. The highest paid was $130,234.

Two registered nurses made six figures. Besides the one who made $160,875, another nurse made $108,624.

Eight resident unit officers made $100,000 or more. A resident unit officer is a prison guard who is assigned solely to a cell block and has more responsibilities than a corrections officer, Marlan said.

The highest paid resident unit officer made $164,161. The second-highest paid resident unit officer made $129,803.

There were 2,814 resident unit officers in 2010-11 who made on average $56,318. Salary information contained part-time employees, Marlan said.

There were 4,890 corrections officers in 2010-11 who made on average $52,556.

There were 506 registered nurses in 2010-11 who made on average $53,285.

There were 16,807 DOC employees in 2010-11 with a total payroll of $862,957,106 in 2010-11. The DOC has cut its workforce over the last two years. In 2008-09, there were 17,754 employees with a total payroll of $914,745,731.

The highest paid DOC employee was a state division administrator who made $201,102. Marlan said DOC officials believe that employee’s salary was so high because of retirement payouts.

The second highest paid employee was a physician manager who made $174,796.

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See also:

Prison Guards vs. Teachers: Who Is Worth More?

Who Are the $100K-Plus Employees at the Detroit Public Schools?

Helpful Facts About Michigan's Public Sector

St. Lawrence University economist Steven Horwitz discusses how the minimum wage was used to block immigrants from taking scarce jobs during the depression era. See more at "Raising the Minimum Wage, Lowering Opportunity."


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