Demoralized Federal Prison Officers Feel Left Behind By ‘Law And Order’ Trump

In Budget, Taxes On

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A hiring freeze imposed by the administration at the start of Trump’s term has left BOP severely short-staffed, just as the administration’s law enforcement policies have begun to increase its workload. The bureau is one of the largest prison systems in the world’s most incarcerated nation, and it currently houses 155,000 of the nation’s nearly 184,000 federal inmates. Federal prisons have suffered from overcrowding for years, but a drop in the federal prison population toward the end of the Obama administration made it seem as though a path to sustainability was within sight, officials say. Instead, Trump’s federal hiring freeze left the prison bureau unable to fill vacancies.

Now many facilities operate on a skeleton crew, BOP employees say. Health workers, secretaries and teachers at the facilities report regularly being pressed into guard duty. And it’s just a matter of time until the crisis will start claiming lives, said Kristan Morgan, a nurse practitioner at a low-security facility in Tallahassee, Florida, at a recent news conference.

″My reality is that it’s not if but when. When will the inmates realize that they outnumber a nurse working as a novice officer 150-to-1? When will I have to call for assistance from the depleted ranks that exist due to hiring freezes and budget cuts? How many will come? How long will it take?” Morgan asked. “Am I next to be kidnapped? Raped? Murdered? All in the name of doing more with less?”

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