Barack Obama's Letter to John Gage regarding the Bureau of Prisons

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Letter to John Gage regarding the Bureau of Prisons
by Barack Obama
20 October 2008
John Gage

National President
American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO
80 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Dear President Gage,

I am writing regarding working conditions at the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) conrrectional institutions. I share your concern that these facilities are becoming increasingly dangerous places to work due to correctional officer understaffing and prison inmate overcrowding.

Several years of inadequate budget requests by the Bush administration have led to a critical juncture for BOP – in terms of safety and security for both correctional staff and prison inmates.

Budget pressures have forced BOP to rely on overtime for current correctional staff instead of hiring additional staff, leving the correctional workforce spread thin. Budget pressures also have resulted in prison inmat overcrowding getting worse, often forcing BOP to house prison inmates in makeshift quarters in many institutions.

Correctional officer understaffing and prison inmate overcrowding are resulting in a spike in the number of serious assaults, murders, and large-scale inmate riots in BOP facilities.

I agree with you that these adverse trends cannot continue. I pledge to you that an Obama administration will address the underfunding problems that are resulting in the deterioration of the safety and security of BOP institutions. My administration will review salary and budgeting decisions that have underminded safety at BOP facilites and will work with the BOP workforce and the union to address workplace concerns.

Thank you, John, for everything you and your members do for America.

Sincerely,

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Barack Obama