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Prison job cuts create safety concern for the community

Prison job cuts
Posted at 10:09 PM, Feb 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-01 17:24:33-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- A proposed mandate threatens to eliminate thousands of Correctional Facility jobs. Imagine feeling afraid as you walk into work, that's what correctional officers go through every day.

Less correctional workers in the prisons results in a single officer supervising hundreds of dangerous inmates, with no back-up, making security a concern. Local Correctional Officer, Alicia Peoples, says, the prisoners outnumber her 100 to 1. She tells us, "On a night shift or a late night, we're outnumbered maybe 200 to 1. So my biggest concern, like I said, is the safety of myself and the officers that I protect, that protect me."

The mandate will slash 35 jobs at Tallahassee's Federal Correctional Institution at a time when under staffing is a serious issue. To fill staffing gaps, unqualified prison employees, such as nurses, teachers or managers, are forced to work as replacements to the Correctional Officer's post.

The prison sits in Tallahassee's backyard, just miles from Tom Brown Park, restaurants and shops. The proposed cut doesn't just create safety concerns inside the institution, but also outside of it. The Bureau of Prisons has started the elimination of 14% of Law Enforcement positions throughout the agency.

Ray Coleman, President of the Local American Federation of Government Employees says, the number of staff and inmate assaults continues to rise in the prisons.Coleman tells us, "We have some of the biggest drug dealers, murderes, rapists, and things like that right here in Tallahassee. There's a concern that if we don't have the staff we need, that that may possibly be an issue."

Coleman is traveling to Washington D.C. this week to voice the local workers' concerns to the House Judiciary Committee that oversees the Bureau of Prisons. He is bringing a petition with over 12 thousand signatures asking for proper funding for our prison system.

If you want to sign the petition to help Law Enforcement workers, visit: https://www.change.org/p/u-s-house-of-representatives-safety-of-public-and-law-enforcement-threatened-by-budget-cuts-and-privatization