Hundreds Protest at El Reno, Oklahoma Federal Correctional Institute Calling on Congress to Grant Full Funding to Bureau of Prisons
(El Reno, Oklahoma)—Members of AFGE, Council of Prisons and Local 171, representing federal correctional workers who secure facilities at El Reno, Oklahoma and 30 other prisons nationwide held a news conference and informational picket on Friday, March 24, 2006 to draw attention to a decrease in staffing levels, combined with an increase in assaults on federal correctional workers and a dramatic change in the federal prison population which now includes convicted terrorists and gang members.
El Reno’s Federal Correctional Institute, which was described as “typical” of the nation’s 122 other facilities by Bryan Lowery, president of AFGE’s Council of Prison Locals, has suffered a reduction in correctional officers of nearly 25% from 2003-2006. During that same time period the number of inmates in a housing unit increased 16%, while the number of federal correctional officers assigned to watch them on each shift was reduced by 50%.
The Union says serious inmate overcrowding and correctional worker understaffing such as that in El Reno plague the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BoP) system, and create hazardous conditions for federal prison inmates, federal correctional workers, and the communities in which they work.