HUNTSVILLE, Texas — The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is raising the pay for state prison correctional officers with less than eight months of service.

In a statement issued Thursday, the state prison system said the move responds to a spike in the number of vacant correctional officer positions and the rapid rate of turnover in the ranks. The TDCJ says there were 3,688 vacancies in fiscal year 2017 and a turnover rate of 28.2 percent. Within that number is a nearly 42 percent turnover rate among first-year officers.

Effective Thursday, the agency increased its officers’ salaries from $2,695 a month for officers with two months’ service or fewer and $2,853 for officers with three to eight months service to $3,020. That’s the same salary that officers with nine to 14 months earn.

This story has been corrected to substitute ‘months of service’ to ‘years of service.’