AUSTIN (KXAN) — Travis County Commissioners voted unanimously to increase base pay for both its corrections officers in the jail and deputies in the field. Both will get a $5,000 base rate increase.

The conversation was brought forward largely due to understaffing at the jail. The Travis County Sheriff’s Office said of it’s 731 corrections officer positions, 248 are vacant. That’s a roughly 35% vacancy rate.

Corrections officers will go from a base rate of $50,000 to $55,000 starting in June. TCSO law enforcement deputies will go from $63,000 to $68,000 starting in October. There will also be adjustments in pay for people in higher positions to ensure the pay scale remains balanced.

“We have a lot of staff that are stuck inside the jails. They don’t get to go home in the evenings to see their families,” said Jacob Bentura, a senior corrections officer and the president of the TCSO Association.

Bentura said because there are state minimums for staffing, corrections officers are being required to stay for lengthy overtime shifts. He said many officers he works with are “ready to leave” the department.

Travis County is hoping to keep current officers in the jail and incentivize more people to apply with the increase in pay. Bentura had hoped the raise would be more and said he would continue to work with the county heading into the budget cycle.

“[In] corrections, the training and the experience that they get, is what makes for a good law enforcement deputy on the street. So what the commissioners court did today is said that they not only care for corrections but the law enforcement, the other men and women at the Travis County Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Sally Hernandez said.

County staff noted how unusual it is for commissioners to make a decision like this outside of regular budget discussions, but said it would allow them to get ahead of surrounding counties which pay more.

Until the update in pay, Williamson, Bastrop and Hays counties all paid starting corrections officers slightly more than Travis County. The $5,000 increase will put Travis County at the top of the list.

“Because we did it mid-year now we can come back in the regular budget session to see if it’s working and see if we need to make any adjustments to salary, to marketing, anything like that,” Travis County Judge Andy Brown said.