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Government Shutdown Impacts Federal Prisons



Correctional officers are not receiving their paychecks even though the guards are working. The correctional officers are working not knowing when their paychecks will start again. Local union president and Federal prison employee, Jeff Roberts has complained that the correctional officers are not being paid, but the inmates are receiving their monies for their work. Roberts stated, “It just seems so wrong on so many levels.”

At first glance, the public reading this news will become incensed at this unjust situation. However, if you look at the facts, the public will see a different reality for the inmates. The inmates receive very little pay. The Federal Bureau of Prison’s website describes the inmate’s pay:

“Sentenced inmates are required to work if they are medically able. Institution work assignments include employment in areas like food service or the warehouse, or work as an inmate orderly, plumber, painter, or groundskeeper. Inmates earn 12¢ to 40¢ per hour for these work assignments.Approximately 16% of work-eligible inmates work in Federal Prison Industries (FPI) factories. They gain marketable job skills while working in factory operations, such as metals, furniture, electronics, textiles, and graphic arts. FPI work assignments pay from 23¢ to $1.15 per hour.”

From this little pay, the inmates pay their legal obligations such as fines and child support. If any monies are left over, the inmates can buy toiletries, etc. The inmates receive their pay from a trust fund that is not connected to the disputed appropriated government funds.

We are sympathetic to the plight of the correctional officers, but the inmates should not be made the scapegoats for the guard’s present situations.

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