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December 15, 2021
Nearly one-third of federal correctional officer jobs nationwide are vacant according to the Bureau of Prison's staffing numbers, which show that fewer than 14,000 of the 20,446 officer positions budgeted for 2021 were filled.
• This has resulted in officers working vast amounts of overtime and non-officer
employees including cooks, teachers, and nurses being assigned to work as correctional officers under a process called augmentation.
• The severe staffing shortage across federal prisons is endangering the lives of
employees and makes it harder to safely manage inmates.
• As the exclusive representative for federal correctional officers and staff, AFGE
locally and nationally is calling on Congress to increase prison staffing levels,
provide recruitment bonuses, and take other steps to address this staffing crisis.
Staffing cuts and a hiring freeze implemented by previous administrations has
reduced the maximum number of employees the Bureau of Prisons can hire to
roughly 75% of the "mission critical" staffing level the agency has said is necessary
to keep officers and inmates safe.
The pandemic exacerbated the staffing shortfalls, resulting in a dramatic increase
in the use of administrative and programming staff to perform critical correctional
officer duties — a practice known as augmentation — as well as requiring officers
to routinely work double shifts two to five times per week, often without prior notice.
o On average, FCI Danbury sees 10-15 augmented staff per day
▪ This causes programs to cease that reduce recidivism, prepare soon to be released inmates the opportunities to prepare for a productive life outside of prison, and neglects all other tasks that are needed to maintain the facility, pay our debts, and conduct regular business.
o Types of staff augmented:
▪ Teachers, healthcare providers, cooks, maintenance staff, accountants, etc…
▪ Nearly all staff working inside the prison are paid as Federal Law Enforcement Officers. This was designed to ensure public safety if the facility had a major incident. Not for everyday operations.
▪ These staff are still held accountable and many times reprimanded for not fulfilling their regular position duties at no fault of their own.
▪ This reduced the number of available staff to respond to incidents and emergencies.
o Forced Overtime/Mandation:
▪ Correctional Officers have no choice but to stay when told. Due to the staffing cuts and the consistent loss of staff, this situation happens daily. In some cases entire shifts at FCI Danbury are mandated to stay or face discipline.
▪ This practice has become the normal at FCI Danbury and support the statistics regarding the following.
Please Note that Correctional Officers Exceed the Average Rate of the Conditions Below Compared to Police Officers and Military Personnel Who Have Seen Active Combat.
o High Rate of Suicide
o High Rate of Depression/PTSD
o High Rate of Divorce
o Live Span of 58 years on Average
• For the facility, it causes high turnover, low morale, exhaustion, routine mistakes that can lead to increased danger to staff as well as the community.
o Results of these practices:
▪ Increased sick leave furthering concerns for fellow staff and the community
▪ Reduced vigilance
▪ Reduced response to emergencies
For information on this event, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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