tRump does not understand at all the need for criminal justice reform. Here we see that his ill-conceived budget cuts pose a real danger to B O P staff. While most inmates are not violent, there are plenty who will, and do, attack staff.
If it worked for Hollywood, federal prison workers hope it works for them. Prison union officials are adopting the theme of the Oscar-winning movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in an effort to call attention to dramatic cuts, warning that staffers could die if authorities proceed with a plan to eliminate more than 6,000 positions.
Set to appear as early as this week near the Bureau of Prisons’ largest complex outside Orlando, the three prison billboards are expected to depict the image of a coffin, along with the message: “Budget cuts lead to deaths in federal prisons.”
Not unlike the movie, in which a mother seeks to shame a local sheriff for his failure solve her daughter’s murder, union officials are trying to call attention to staffers’ plight inside the vast federal prison system. The Trump administration is in the midst of an estimated 14% staffing reduction systemwide to include about 1,800 officer positions. The prisons bureau has said most of the positions slated for elimination are vacant.
Last month, USA TODAY reported that hundreds of secretaries, teachers, counselors, cooks and medical staffers were tapped last year to fill guard posts across the system because of acute officer shortages and overtime limits. The moves were made despite repeated warnings that the assignments placed unprepared employees at risk. And the practice has continued for years even though the agency has been rebuked by Congress and federal labor arbitrators.
“We want the public to know that we’re trying to avoid the real possibility of loss of life here,” said Joe Rojas, president of the local union, who is leading the media campaign. “Yes, it’s a very strong message; it’s strong because we feel that strongly about it.”
Rojas said the union had identified three high-traffic locations near the prison complex to display its message. He said the union was paying $9,400 a month.
“We want as many people as possible to see this, because the situation is serious,” Rojas said.