FLORENCE, Colo. – American Federation of Government Employees Local 1169 thanks freshman U.S. Rep. Brittany Pettersen for calling on the Biden administration to address persistent understaffing and dangerous working conditions at Federal Correctional Complex Florence, south of Colorado Springs, Colo.
Rep. Pettersen, who was elected in November as the representative for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District and sworn into office on Jan. 7, sent a letter to Bureau of Prisons Director Colette Peters and Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja on Jan. 10 requesting a 25% retention bonus for all FCC Florence staff – both correctional officers and non-custody staff – to prevent staff attrition and help promote the recruitment and hiring of new staff.
“FCC Florence is short at least 188 correctional staff, including 120 correctional officers and 66 non-custody staff below the authorized amount,” Pettersen wrote. “This understaffing has placed employees and the inmate population in an unsustainable environment and created a reliance on mandatory overtime and reassignment of non-custody staff.”
There have been two inmate homicides and six serious assaults in just the past year at the prison complex, which comprises four facilities: the minimum-security Federal Prison Camp, the medium-security Federal Correctional Institution, the high-security United States Penitentiary, and the supermax Administrative Maximum Facility.
Pettersen’s letter follows a similar letter sent to the heads of BOP and OPM in December by the state’s two U.S. senators, Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper.
“Having the support of the entire congressional delegation that represents correctional officers and staff at the facility signifies how critical this issue is, not only for the workers but for the community,” AFGE Local 1169 President John Butkovich said. “FCC Florence is one of the most understaffed prisons in the country, and we desperately need additional support to recruit and retain sufficient staff.”