WASHINGTON— The American Federation of Government Employees’ (AFGE) Local 1302 President Barb Batulis appeared Sunday, Oct. 14 in a “60 Minutes” piece that deals with the dangerous working conditions at the ADX Supermax prison facility in Florence, Colo. Batulis discussed her role as a female federal correctional officer, and the challenges associated with her job. “A terrorist inmate threatened to kill my family, because I was doing my job,” Batulis said. She also addressed her role as President of AFGE’s Supermax Local 1302 and the low staffing levels at Supermax. “We are very short staffed. I firmly believe that staff lives are at stake,” Batulis said.
“The country finally saw what our federal correctional officers must endure on a daily basis,” said AFGE Council of Prison Locals (CPL) National President Bryan Lowry. “But the critically low staffing levels are not unique to just Supermax. This is a nationwide problem throughout the Bureau of Prisons that must be addressed.” AFGE represents officers at some 114 federal prison facilities nationwide.
AFGE reached out to the producers of “60 Minutes” about the low staffing levels after former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales toured the Supermax facility in February. Gonzales was joined on the tour by AFGE National President John Gage, CPL President Lowry and Local 1302 President Batulis, along with Sens. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) and Ken Salazar (D-Colo.).
The Council of Prison Locals says serious inmate overcrowding and correctional officer understaffing, such as that at the Florence, Colo. federal prison campus where Supermax is located, plague the Federal Bureau of Prisons system nationwide, and create hazardous conditions for federal prison inmates, federal correctional workers, and the communities in which they work.
AFGE recently held a news conference to discuss the dramatic increase in assaults throughout the nation’s federal prison facilities and also featured the issue on the Union’s weekly radio program “Inside Government”. Listen to the program here: http://federalnewsradio.com/index.php?nid=300&sid=1235470