Sending Office: Honorable David B. McKinley
Sent By:
Nik.Schoenherr@mail.house.gov

        Request for Cosponsor(s)

Deadline to Sign: COB Wednesday March 14

Dear Colleague,

Last month, Bureau of Prisons Director Mark Inch and the Department of Justice announced the elimination of over 6,000 positions throughout the BOP system, primarily impacting the replacement of full-time corrections officer positions. Their plan is to fill
the void by assigning cafeteria workers, teachers, therapists, groundskeepers, and others to supplement what’s left of the officers by assigning occasional officer duties to any and every other staff member employed. This practice is referred to as “augmentation”.

Augmentation is dangerous for a variety of reasons, and unfairly puts staff with minimal training in dangerous situations as guards while their regular work is left unattended. What was intended to be an emergency measure to address staffing shortfalls has
been abused and is being used to justify staffing cuts. USA Today wrote the following piece

Exclusive: As federal prisons run low on guards, nurses and cooks are filling in
last month and highlights some of the dangers that can occur while staff is augmented.

In response, Reps. David McKinley, Tom Marino, Ed Perlmutter, and John Delaney are offering the following letter to request Report Language in the CJS Appropriations that significantly cuts back BOP’s ability to rely on augmentation as a means of reducing
staff, and to provide quarterly staffing reports to Congress to ensure that they are acting in accordance to the Report Language.

Please join us by signing the attached letter, and restrict BOP’s ability to abuse augmentation practices. This public safety concern must be addressed before someone is seriously injured, or even killed. To sign onto the letter, or if you have any questions,
please contact nik.schoenherr@mai.house.gov (McKinley),
judd.smith@mail.house.gov (Marino),
joe.minges@mail.house.gov (Perlmutter), or
michele.viterise@mail.house.gov (Delaney).

Sincerely,

 

******

 

March 16, 2018
 

The Honorable John Culberson                                        The Honorable José Serrano
Chairman                                                                          Ranking Member
House Committee on Appropriations                             House Committee on Appropriations

Subcommittee on Commerce,                                        Subcommittee on Commerce,
Justice, Science, and Related Agencies                           Justice, Science and Related Agencies
U.S. House of Representatives                                         U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515                                                  Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Culberson and Ranking Member Serrano:

As you consider the FY2019 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill, we request the bill include report language requiring the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to address its overreliance on the practice of “augmentation” as a cost-saving
measure.  This practice takes non-custody staff away from their assigned duties and transfers them to mandatory custody posts, which adversely impacts employee morale and puts substitute staff in some of the most critical positions.

While the BOP has broad discretion to decide how best to use its limited resources and personnel to carry out its responsibilities, the safety of the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to guard, supervise, and protect federal inmates
must be a top priority. Though we are sympathetic to the need for fiscal restraint, this is the wrong way to reduce costs and we remain concerned about the hazardous workplace environment the utilization of this practice creates.

To that end, we support the inclusion of the following language in the Subcommittee base text to require the Federal Bureau of Prisons to address this issue:

Augmentation—The Committee acknowledges that although the overall federal inmate population continues to decline from its 2013 high, overcrowding remains a serious threat to correctional officer safety—particularly at medium-
and high-security facilities. The Committee understands the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) routinely uses augmentation, whereby a non-custody correctional employee is assigned custody responsibilities to meet staffing needs. The Committee directs the BOP to curtail
its overreliance on augmentation and hire additional full-time custody employees until the augmentation of non-custody employees is no longer needed to meet mission critical staffing levels. The Committee also directs the BOP to submit quarterly hiring and
staffing reports to the Committee on the staff-to-inmate ratios at each federal facility by occupational series, security level, shift, housing unit, and other related measures not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely, 

____________________                                               ____________________                                  

David B. McKinley, P.E.                                              Ed Perlmutter

Member of Congress                                                    Member of Congress

 

____________________                                               ____________________

Tom Marino                                                                 John K. Delaney

Member of Congress                                                    Member of Congress

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Judiciary, Labor

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