Correctional Crisis: Chronic Understaffing at FCC Pollock Despite Federal Aid
KALB repots that the Federal Correctional Complex in Pollock continues to grapple with significant understaffing issues a year after initial reports highlighted the problem. The complex, which houses 2,700 inmates across three facilities, currently employs 283 correctional officers, resulting in an overreliance on overtime shifts.
“At this point, there’s no end in sight,” said Thomas Moore, legislative coordinator for AFGE Local 1034. “And I know I probably said that last year, but there’s no end in sight.”
Despite receiving federal aid in the form of retention and recruitment bonuses, many employees find themselves working excessive hours, with some even offering to return their recruitment bonus due to the strain. As a result of the staffing shortages, the prison's operations, including vocational programs and inmate visitation, are frequently disrupted.
Those shortages are impacting the way the whole prison operates, leading to interruptions of vocational programs and inmate visitation, as well as more consistent lockdowns.
“Everything is on a schedule,” said Melvin Burns, first vice president of AFGE Local 1034 and a vocational instructor. “When you’re short of staff, it just throws that schedule off on a day-to-day basis.”
To address this ongoing problem, union representatives are urging Congress to pass legislation focused on increasing the pay of correctional officers, such as the 'Pay Our Correctional Officers Fairly Act' introduced by Congressman Randy Weber.