BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The new director of the Idaho Department of Corrections is asking lawmakers to approve a significant pay increase for experienced prison staffers in hopes of reducing the department's high turnover rate.

Kevin Kempf told members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Wednesday that it costs about $15,000 to hire and train new correctional officers, but the majority of them are leaving the department within two years. More than half of Idaho's prison supervisors and about 64 percent of the state's correctional officers have less than two years' experience.

Kempf says inexperience and high turnover rates are often found to be a contributing factor to prison riots elsewhere and the problem could put Idaho at risk.