Understaffed federal prisons causes potential danger - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Understaffed federal prisons causes potential danger

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
ESTILL, SC (WTOC) -

The Department of Justice announced a decrease of 6,132 positions for federal prisons nationwide due to budget cuts.

The department says they will only be eliminating vacant positions, and current employees should not fear for their job security. However, prison guards say they it's their security, period, that they fear.

The Department of Justice claims federal prison inmates have decreased over the years, therefore provoking a cut in the budget for staffing. However, this did not take into account the recent hiring freeze. While employees quit, retired, or left for whatever reason, no positions were filled.

Louis Davis is the President of the American Federation of Governing Employees Local 3976. His father was the first African American prison warden in the state of Georgia. Davis currently works at the federal prison in Estill, SC, and said because of the hiring freeze, "We haven't hired anybody in over a year." 

Davis said correction officer cuts could unleash your worst nightmare from federal prisons, including murderers, rapists, and cons. Understaffing in any workplace can be detrimental, but in a prison, it can be deadly.

"We protect America from some of the worst criminals in the world," said Davis. "Our understaffing can cost you your life."

While these prison guards feel like their lives are at stake, just a few miles down the road, businesses, like Dr. Tire, are also worried about inmates getting loose. 

"To know that they could get out, come in, terrorize anybody they wanted to."

Another worker in the room, Meagan Bostick, said, "Probably trying to steal whatever because they don't have money or anything on them, so they would be after whoever they could find," Thomas said. 

What WTOC found in this decision-making is interesting. After digging through the Bureau of Prisons 2018-2019 budget report, their committee strongly recommends additional staffing. They expose the inmate to correctional officer ratio and admit it is unsafe for both the inmates and the staff. It goes on to recommend an immediate correction. 

WTOC reached out to the Bureau of Prisons to see if it followed this counsel. It's response was:

"We are currently eliminating several thousand vacant authorized positions.  These positions have been identified by the Department of Justice and Congress to be eliminated as part of an effort to “rightsize” the BOP authorized staffing levels in light of the significant decrease in the inmate population we experienced over the last 4 years. 

The elimination of these positions will not result in any staff members being displaced or any Reduction in Force, and the BOP does not expect this to impact institutional operations or its overall ability to maintain a safe environment for inmates and staff.   Likewise, we believe that reducing authorized positions will not have a negative impact on public safety."

This also doesn't sit well with congressmen across the country. Representatives from Ohio, Florida, and more all wrote letters to President Trump for reconsideration. Georgia Congressman Buddy Carter says safety should always be a priority.

"Any prison guard who feels like they might be in danger, I strongly encourage them to get in touch with our office. Let us look at the particular situation. We'll bring it to the attention of the Department of Justice and it will be addressed."

The Bureau of Prisons said the FY2018 budget has not yet been enacted. To the extent, the FY2018 budget calls for the elimination of additional positions, the BOP will work with DOJ to effect such changes.

Copyright 2018 WTOC. All rights reserved.

  • NewsNewsMore>>

  • Tropical Update: Alberto sending bands of rain to the Coastal Empire, Lowcountry

    Tropical Update: Alberto sending bands of rain to the Coastal Empire, Lowcountry

    Saturday, May 26 2018 10:42 PM EDT2018-05-27 02:42:14 GMT
    (Source: Raycom Media)(Source: Raycom Media)

    Moisture from Sub-Tropical Storm Alberto will surge into the southeastern United States over the next 24-hours; widespread wet weather is likely Sunday into Monday.

    More >>

    Moisture from Sub-Tropical Storm Alberto will surge into the southeastern United States over the next 24-hours; widespread wet weather is likely Sunday into Monday.

    More >>
  • Savannah law enforcement patrolling land and water over holiday weekend

    Savannah law enforcement patrolling land and water over holiday weekend

    Saturday, May 26 2018 10:19 PM EDT2018-05-27 02:19:46 GMT
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)
    Memorial Day weekend is in full effect, which means that law enforcement is out in full force. The Department of Natural Resources is also stressing safety throughout the weekend.  Officers say that they'll be cracking down on the usual charges, such as those not wearing seatbelts, or drinking and driving. But they are also on the hunt for anyone who is distracted while driving.  "Well I checked the jail when I left a few minutes ago and we have openings," s...More >>
    Memorial Day weekend is in full effect, which means that law enforcement is out in full force. The Department of Natural Resources is also stressing safety throughout the weekend.  Officers say that they'll be cracking down on the usual charges, such as those not wearing seatbelts, or drinking and driving. But they are also on the hunt for anyone who is distracted while driving.  "Well I checked the jail when I left a few minutes ago and we have openings," s...More >>
  • Quilts of Valor provides healing and comfort to Savannah veterans

    Quilts of Valor provides healing and comfort to Savannah veterans

    Saturday, May 26 2018 6:33 PM EDT2018-05-26 22:33:40 GMT
    (Source: WTOC)(Source: WTOC)

    Quilts of Valor awarded two Savannah Army veterans with quilts on Saturday as a way to thank them for their military service.  Founded in 2003, the organization awards quilts to active service members and veterans to promote healing and comfort. Since their founding, they've awarded around 187-thousand quilts. "...to be able to look at somebody I know who has been through sleepless nights, not able to brush their teeth, not able to shampoo their hair. The smells they ...

    More >>

    Quilts of Valor awarded two Savannah Army veterans with quilts on Saturday as a way to thank them for their military service.  Founded in 2003, the organization awards quilts to active service members and veterans to promote healing and comfort. Since their founding, they've awarded around 187-thousand quilts. "...to be able to look at somebody I know who has been through sleepless nights, not able to brush their teeth, not able to shampoo their hair. The smells they ...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly