WASHINGTON – The head of the union council representing more than 30,000 federal correctional officers and staff is criticizing the Bureau of Prisons for refusing to test employees for exposure to the coronavirus.
American Federation of Government Employees Council of Prison Locals President Shane Fausey said he was offended by comments made by BOP Medical Director Jeffrey Allen in a Senate hearing Tuesday in which he defended the agency’s decision not to test officers and staff for COVID-19.
Allen told lawmakers that testing employees would limit the agency’s ability to provide health care to inmates. He said employees instead would need to be tested through state and local health departments.
“I was offended by Dr. Allen’s comments,” Fausey said. “His prioritization of inmate care without regard to the health and safety of our employees is repulsive and is not indicative of supporting the agency’s ‘most valuable resource.’
“The BOP's expectation, under Dr. Allen’s advice and direction, to relegate their workplace safety obligations upon local and state government agencies is irresponsible and objectionable,” Fausey added. “The Bureau of Prisons should prioritize the voluntary testing of all employees, especially utilizing all assets within the agency itself, without delay.”