Hopewell, Virginia – On Friday, March 10, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr., Council of Prison Locals representatives, members of AFGE Local 2052, and Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia toured the Federal Correctional Complex of Petersburg.
“I’m grateful that Sen. Kaine took the time to see the important work of FCC Petersburg’s correctional employees firsthand,” said Cox. “President Trump’s hiring freeze has created staffing problems in the Bureau of Prisons, and any shortage of staff jeopardizes safety. It’s crucial that Congressional leaders understand why the agency should fall under the Law Enforcement Safety Exemption.”
“We need more hard-working men and women to secure our nation’s prisons, protect our citizens, and work with inmates to facilitate a positive reentry to society,” Cox added.
“We cannot have law and order without the sworn law enforcement professionals in the Bureau of Prisons,” said Eric Young, the National President of Council of Prison Locals. Young has relentlessly urged the Trump Administration to exempt the Bureau of Prisons under the federal hiring freeze. “No one would know peace in their community if it were not for the men and women who risk their lives keeping our prisons and communities safe.”
The tour, hosted by AFGE Local 2052, allowed for Sen. Kaine to walk through the low and medium security facilities at FCI Petersburg and learn about programs like the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). The program is just one of several initiatives that prepare inmates for life after prison. Sen. Kaine also heard from union representatives about the dangers of overcrowding and understaffing at prisons, and why federal law enforcement professionals, not for-profit private prison workers, are best-suited to safeguard our nation’s prisons.
“I was thankful to have the opportunity to tour FCC Petersburg with AFGE President J. David Cox and Warden Wilson,” Kaine said. “We have a tough debate ahead because President Trump wants to make drastic cuts to domestic spending. If you’re here at a correctional institution and the Administration freezes federal hiring, you’re not able to hire correctional officers, which makes it more dangerous for the workers, inmates, and surrounding community.”
“I’m glad I had the opportunity to take this tour and listen to everyone from staff to prisoners about the realities of the prison, the reentry programs, and the facility needs,” Sen. Kaine added.
“In light of the administration’s decision to return to the use of private prisons for federal inmates, it’s vital that lawmakers visit the Bureau of Prison facilities in their areas,” said Cox. “Not only that, but they must immediately address President Trump’s plans to cut the Department of Justice’s agencies’ staff. The proposed 4 percent cut would be devastating to the Bureau of Prisons and would immediately endanger officers, inmates and the surrounding communities.”