The Average Salary of a Prison Warden

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Prison wardens work at jails and correctional facilities across the country.
Prison wardens work at jails and correctional facilities across the country. (Image: old prison window image by green308 from Fotolia.com)

Prison wardens are responsible for managing and overseeing the operations of prisons, jails and other correctional facilities. These workers coordinate the activities of correctional officers and other employees in the prison system to ensure prisoners are properly cared for and supervised. Prison warden salaries have a broad range across the country.

National Averages

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were about 45,540 first-line supervisors and prison managers in 2009, the category in which wardens are included. These workers earned an average salary of $28.76 per hour, or $59,810 per year. The top 10 percent of earners made about $43.34 per hour, or $90,140 per year, while the lowest 10 percent made about $16.66 per hour, or $34,640 per year.

Most Common Sectors

The most common sector in which wardens were employed in 2009 was the "state government" sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were about 28,090 workers employed in this sector, earning an average of $28.54 per hour, or about $59,370 per year. The next most common sector, "local government," had average salaries of $29.19 per hour, or about $60,710 per year.

Highest Paying Industries

The estimated 1,380 wardens and prison managers employed in the "federal executive branch" sector had the highest average salaries in 2009, making an average wage of $33.86 per hour, or $70,420 per year. Those in local and state government had the second- and third-highest average salaries, while the fourth-highest came from the "facilities support services" sector, with an average wage of $24.67 per hour, or $51,310 per year.

Geographical Differences

Prison manager salaries also differed between states in 2009. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the five states with the top average salaries for these workers were: New Jersey, California, Nevada, Alaska and New York. Prison managers in New Jersey earned an average salary of $44.44 per hour, or $92,440 per year, while those in California made about $42.94 per hour, or $89,310 per year.

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