Union: Crowded Prisons Dangerous Workplaces


The stomach-turning catalogue of violence against federal prison employees, provided by the American Federation of Government Employees, is long, serious and apparently unending, reports the Washington Post. The assaults are sometimes fatal. Federal prisons “have become increasingly dangerous places to work, primarily because of serious correctional officer understaffing and prison inmate overcrowding problems,” Phil Glover, a union official, told a congressional panel yesterday.

The inmate-to-staff ratio is more than one-third greater than it was in 1997. “Systemwide, the BOP was operating at 37 percent over its total rated capacity” as of July 2, bureau director, Harley Lappin, told the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security. High-security facilities, where the most violent offenders are kept, are 50 percent over capacity. As overcrowding increases, so do assaults. Inmate-on-staff violence rose 6 percent and inmate-on-inmate violence jumped 16 percent in fiscal 2006, compared with the previous year.

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