BOP in need of additional staff to meet ICE detainee demands

The massive influx of new Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees is making matters worse for an already understaffed workforce at the federal Bureau of Prisons.

According to the American Federation of Government Employees Council of Prison Locals—which represents 33,000 BOP employees nationwide—five federal prisons are beginning to receive more than 1,600 ICE detainees in need of temporary beds.

The council has been urging Congress to increase staffing and is fighting against plans to cut 6,000 positions from correctional facilities across the country.  

Council President Eric Young said prison staff already risk their lives every day, and with an even larger population and limited resources, they are jeopardizing their lives even further.

“How are our officers supposed to protect and care for these detainees when they barely have enough resources to care for the prisoners under their charge now?” he asked in a statement. 

One of those affected facilities is the Federal Correctional Complex Victorville, one of BOP’s largest correctional facility and largest recipient of detainees with roughly 1,000 taken into custody within the last week. 

“Right now, we don’t have enough correctional officers at our facility,” AFGE Local 3969 President John Kostelnik, who represents workers at Victorville, said. “And instead of addressing that issue and working to keep our officers safe, we are being told to accommodate a 27 percent increase of individuals in our custody.”

These facilities are also concerned with lack of medical staff, translators and food service workers, in addition to officers.

AFGE is planning a press conference June 20 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to discuss these issues with the public.

Learn more here.

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