Salary of a Prison Administrator


Prison administrators, also known as prison wardens, oversee the day-to-day operations of prisons, including matters related to budgeting, programming and providing care for prisoners. Additionally, they are responsible for the training of correctional officers and supervisors. Much like business or organization administrators, prison administrators are well-paid often earning six-figure salaries. Other salary considerations include location and facility.

Average Salary

  • According to, the average annual salary for a prison administrator is $57,000 as of 2011. In comparison, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median annual salary for supervisors of correctional officers at approximately this same amount as of 2011. Salaries for prison administrators may range from $35,000 to $100,000.

By Location

  • Because prison administrators receive their salaries from taxpayers, their salaries vary according to state budgets. According to a profile on prison wardens by Criminal Justice Profiles, prison wardens in Pennsylvania earn an average salary between $35,000 and $45,000 yearly as of 2008. In Nevada, they earn between $65,000 and $95,000 yearly as of 2008. In Kentucky and Connecticut, they earn between $42,000 and $56,000 yearly and $78,000 and $103,000 respectively as of 2008.

By Facility

  • According to a March 2011 article in the Marin County Journal, Quentin State Prison's -- California's oldest prison -- new warden Mike Martel earns approximately $122,000 yearly. In the prison system, as evidenced by, it is not uncommon for prison wardens to earn six-figure salaries. A 2008 post for a prison warden at a Miami, Florida, prison lists the yearly salary at $114,000 and $159,000. Prison administrators working for smaller state or county prisons may earn under $50,000. lists the yearly salary for jail administrators at $49,000 yearly as of 2009.

Merit Pay

  • A March 2008 article for Prawfs Blawg discussed the topic of merit pay for prison wardens and whether wardens should receive additional compensation, via bonuses, for their performance. Their performance would be tied to prisoner recidivism rates, prisoner rehabilitation and post-prison employment for prisoners. The article goes on to ask the question of whether warden salaries should be based on these factors.


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