How Much Do Prison Wardens Make?

How much do prison wardens make? Prison wardens earn $104,933 annually on average. Read more about it.

How Much Do Prison Wardens Make?
How Much Do Prison Wardens Make?

Being a prison warden is not one of the most popular jobs in the US, and many people do not consider it a career option. But do you know how much prison wardens make? You might think of being a part of the criminal justice system as a prison warden in one of the high-paying states.

The average prison warden salary in the US is around $104,933, with the lowest and highest of $16,791 and $453,332, respectively.

This guide tells you everything about the salary of prison wardens, their job duties, and how you can become one. Let’s get started!

Prison Warden Salary & Bonus

Prison wardens make a median salary of $82,048, with the highest being $453,332 and the lowest being $16,791. The top 86% make $453,332, whereas the middle 57% of wardens earn between $82,049 and $205,546.

Prison wardens also receive an average 16% yearly bonus of $16,308.

Prison Warden Salary Depending on Experience

Most prison wardens receive a starting pay of $77,582 for up to three years of experience. When prison wardens have an experience of eight years or more, they can expect to make an average salary of $186,441.

Average Prison Warden Salary By State

While many prison wardens earn a high salary, above $400,000, many earn around the lowest. San Francisco pays the highest in the US, with an average of $151,848, 45% higher than the average national prison warden wage.

Due to wage disparity, the average salary for prison wardens ranges from 33,000 to 51,000 in most states.

Read Why Is Nikita Dragun In Prison?

The average salary for prison wardens by state in order of most to least is as follows:


Average Yearly Salary

Average Hourly Wage

New York


















New Jersey

































New Hampshire












Rhode Island



South Dakota



North Dakota









New Mexico

































South Carolina















West Virginia


















North Carolina






What do Prison Wardens do?

Now that you know how much prison wardens make, knowing what they do is critical before you choose it as a career or job.

Prison wardens are one of the highest-ranking officials in a corrections facility. They work towards maintaining harmony within the prisons and supervise the matters of the facility. It is a suitable job for people interested in law and willing to reform the criminal justice system by being responsible prison wardens.

A prison warden’s job comprises the following roles:

Supervise Prisoners

Supervising the inmates is a prison warden's main role to ensure they carry out their duties properly. A prison warden makes sure that the prisoners go to their jobs and facilities per schedule.

It includes tasks within the prison facility and visiting courtrooms or outside the prison building.

Read How Many Prisoners Are In Georgia? Prisoners Population in Georgia

Ensure Discipline

Enforcing rules and ensuring discipline is another important task of the prison warden while supervising inmates. Prison wardens convey the rules and regulations of their facility to the prisoners and ensure implementation.

It also involves maintaining discipline and harmony among the inmates to avoid ruckus. The prison warden must make sure that prison matters run smoothly.

Managing the Facility

Working as a prison warden includes everything from managing the staff and inmates to ensuring smooth functioning within the prison.

They make decisions regarding hiring and training staff, coordinating their duties, and managing activities to ensure they fall within prison regulations.

Maintaining Safety

While it is not the most major duty of a prison warden, it comes under managing the facility to provide a livable space to the prisoners. It includes maintaining safety and cleanliness by monitoring prisoners' activities and ensuring they do not have any illegal items in their possession.

Budgeting & Reporting

Prison wardens have to submit a written report regarding any incident occurring within the prison premises to keep a record of inmates' behavior. These reports act as evidence when deciding about the future of prisoners.

Moreover, prison wardens manage the budget by reviewing expenses and calculating the need for prison programs. It also includes repairs and any equipment needed in the correctional facility.

How to Become a Prison Warden?

Becoming a prison warden requires only a high school diploma, and some facilities may prefer prior military experience. Depending on the facility's needs, some jobs might require a higher skill set or education.

Furthermore, you must be over 21 years old, maintain good physical health, be drug-free, be eligible to carry a firearm and have a clean criminal record.

Skills Needed to be a Prison Warden

Knowing how much prison wardens make can be attractive, but you can get higher pay when you have better skills than other applicants. You can improve your prospects by working on the following skills:

  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Management skills
  • Negotiation skills

Final Words

The average prison warden salary in the US is around $104,933, with the lowest and highest of $16,791 and $453,332, respectively. Due to wage disparity, the average salary for prison wardens ranges from 33,000 to 51,000 in most states.

San Francisco pays the highest to its prison wardens, followed by New York. You need a high school diploma, good health, a clean criminal record, and eligibility to carry or own a firearm; improving your skills can help land a high-paying job.

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