03.15.16

Gardner Contacts Federal Bureau of Prisons About Staffing Changes at Florence Complex

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) sent a letter to the Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Thomas Kane, expressing concerns with recent staffing changes at the Florence Federal Correctional Complex. He outlines two specific adjustments: the elimination of roster positions that caused the number of staff positions to drop below the number necessary to maintain safe operations at the prison and the continued practice of augmenting posts to avoid paying employees overtime. 

The letter reads in full: 

I write today concerning staffing levels at the Florence Federal Correctional Complex (“FCC Florence”). While the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) has broad discretion to decide how best to use its limited resources and personnel to carry out its responsibilities, the safety of correctional staff and inmates alike is of paramount importance to me. Recent efforts by management to realize cost savings appear to be threatening the strong culture of safety that the dedicated staff of FCC Florence has worked hard over the years to create.

 

I am troubled by two staffing changes in particular. First, the custody roster for the current quarter, which runs March 13 to June 11, eliminated three different posts, a loss of 15 roster positions in total. In addition to reducing the staff-to-inmate ratio, a common measure of facility safety, the current custody roster dropped the number of staff positions below that of the “mission critical” roster, which the BOP itself has testified is the minimum number of staff necessary to safely operate the prison. Second, the BOP continues to use a practice known as “augmentation” to avoid paying overtime to custody employees. The practice, which takes non-custody staff away from their assigned duties and transfers them to mandatory custody posts, adversely impacts employee morale and goes against a local memorandum of understanding. Moreover, it puts substitute staff in some of the most critical positions.

 

By eliminating and augmenting posts, and operating at below a mission-critical level, the BOP has entered into a course of action that not only is unsustainable, but also threatens the safety of correctional staff, inmates, and the surrounding community. I urge you to work with FCC Florence management and personnel to ensure that the current staffing issues are addressed in a timely and meaningful fashion. 

 

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy. 

354 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

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