Council of Prison Locals says overcrowding puts staff, surrounding community in danger
WASHINGTON— The Council of Prison Locals (CPL) of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today supported the findings of a Government Accountability Office report that overcrowded federal prisons put staff in danger.
The report, “Growing Inmate Crowding Negatively Affects Inmates, Staff, and Infrastructure,” found the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to be 39 percent over capacity and expects crowding to exceed 45 percent through 2018. The report also concluded increased inmate-to-staff ratios and inmate misconduct ultimately threaten the safety of BOP staff.
“This report confirms what we have been saying for years: BOP overcrowding threatens the safety and security of prison facilities and the staff who work in them,” said CPL President Dale Deshotel. “Furthermore, this is a community safety issue. An overcrowded prison bursting at the seams that isn’t properly staffed ultimately puts the surrounding community in danger.”
BOP correctional officers and other staff members inside federal prisons are unarmed, leaving them vulnerable to attacks by inmates with homemade weapons. For years, AFGE and CPL have fought not only for additional staffing and funding at BOP but also for protective equipment such as stab-resistant vests and pepper spray. The need for additional resources can be seen with the countless violent outbreaks occurring at BOP facilities across the country. A correctional officer can be responsible for supervising as many as 150 inmates at once and is unarmed inside the facility. Low staffing levels and a more aggressive inmate population have led to a spike in violence – something AFGE says cannot continue.
“Federal correctional officers and staff are the foundation of a secure federal prison system,” added AFGE National President J. David Cox. “Properly staffing the facilities is the best way to combat the rising inmate population. It’s an issue that must be addressed immediately.”
To learn more about the Council of Prison Locals, visit CPL33.info.