Federal prison staff members and officers have already begun to feel the effects of these automatic budget cuts. All “overtime” has been eliminated, so many staff members are finding themselves work-ing posts normally manned by custody officers, and as a result many officers are being forced onto different shifts. “Furloughs” that will send all FBOP employees home without pay for at least one day every two weeks are due to commence the first week of April. Obviously, no one is happy about this impending situation and (I’ve heard) many employees are seriously considering (possibly early) retirement. As bleak as the current situation may sound, I still believe it presents us with a great opportunity.
We’re all familiar with the “Extra Good Time Bill” that has been floating around for the last couple of years. Even before this financial crisis there appeared to be overwhelming support for the measure, but there was no real incentive to push it through and make it official. Now we have a “reason” that everyone can get behind. The addi-tional 60 days of potential “earned good time” each year would allow a substantial number of men and women to head home early or to be sent out to a halfway house a little sooner than expected. Although it may not seem like much at least initially, the effects would be compounded over time. Add into that equation the full utilization of the “Second Chance Act” provision which allows for inmates to receive up to one full year of halfway house eligibility. If BOTH of these initiatives were to be maximized, in tandem, the FBOP could save the hundreds of millions of dollars it is now desperately searching to cut from the budget.
If we can encourage the officers (and their Union), staff members, and all of our families and friends to become more vocal about their support of this bill, we’re more likely to gain the political support we need to get it passed into law. Now is the time to do YOUR part to help make it happen. “Talk It Up” online and in person with every person you know or meet and let’s try to work together to make this happen. “Saving Money means Saving Lives”.