At a meeting of the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections this week, AFGE Council of Prison Locals (CPL) President Eric Young testified passionately on behalf of the men and women working in our federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). In his testimony, President Young explained the dire situation that many correctional officers face in their daily duties, citing the 10 to 1 inmate to correctional officer ratio as a dangerous environment for prison workers.
“Without more funding to bring our staffing levels up, we will continue to face dangerous situations that produce tragic consequences,” Young said.
Young’s testimony discussed the challenges facing the BOP, including understaffing, overcrowding, lack of self-defense equipment for correctional officers and prison staff, and the need for secure weapon storage on the way to and from work. Young also urged the Commission to support smarter sentencing reforms to help ease the problems facing our federal prisons, speaking from his firsthand experience as a correctional officer himself.
As a correctional worker I know these issues firsthand,” Young said. “Crowding means fights or disturbances over phones, showers, televisions and basketball courts. The number of simple assaults by inmates on one another has increased steadily as the population has grown, in large measure due to the frustrations they experience… Our staff spend countless hours in these facilities right alongside the inmates and we suffer just as they do.”
Read the full testimony here.