July 13, 2009
Take Action: Understaffing at federal prisons is putting lives at risk
No one should go to work afraid for their life because of their manager’s willful disregard of the law. Yet thousands of correctional workers in federal prisons do so every day, reporting for duty in facilities across the country where the ratio of inmates to guards has reached 150 to 1. Even though Congress has appropriated $545 million to higher more staff, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is now unilaterally saying that none of the new funds will be used to hire more correctional officers.
The repeated refusal of BOP management to address understaffing and underfunding within the system threatens the safety of both inmates and correctional officers, like Jose Rivera. Rivera was a guard at a federal prison in Atwater, California. In June 2008, Rivera was stabbed to death while locking inmates into their cells by himself.