WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Government Employees’ Council of Prison Locals today denounced a plan by the Bureau of Prisons to privatize the supervision of hospitalized inmates in Elkton, Ohio area community hospitals. The contracting-out plan would replace federal correctional officers certified in Basic Prisoner Transport with employees from a private security firm to supervise inmates during hospital stays.
“Federal correctional officers are the most professional, highly trained correctional workers in the world and uniquely equipped to handle the demands of inmate supervision including circumstances that call for an inmate to leave the facility,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “Taking this responsibility out of their hands puts the Elkton community in grave danger.”
“This is yet another example of trying to save money at the expense of community safety,” said CPL President Eric Young. “It’s unacceptable to take an inmate into the community without being supervised by trained federal correctional officers. This plan must be stopped.”
AFGE and CPL have long opposed the privatization of prisons and correctional officer work. The union says federal prisons are safer and more cost-effective than private prisons and maintains that private prisons have a history of slashing operating costs through the reduction of prisoner programs, reducing employee benefits and wages, and routinely operating with low, dangerous staff-to-inmate ratios.
“Correctional workers in the Bureau of Prisons are second to none,” said AFGE Local 607 President Joseph Mayle, who represents workers at the Federal Correctional Institution in Elkton. “We know better than anyone the risks inmates pose to our communities. Replacing trained law enforcement officers with private contractors poses a clear danger to other hospitalized patients and the surrounding community.”
The union also says serious inmate overcrowding and correctional worker understaffing plague the BOP system nationwide, and create potentially hazardous conditions for federal correctional workers and the communities in which they work.
For more information on the Council of Prison Locals, please visit www.cpl33.info.