Around 9 a.m. Tuesday, a staff member at U.S. Penitentiary Thomson was assaulted by an inmate after discovering a contraband cell phone, a news release says. The staff member was treated and released.
According to a news release from the American Federation of Government Employees Local 4070, which represents correctional officers and staff at USP Thomson, the union has repeatedly requested the return of the prison’s search team, which comprised 10 staff who searched for contraband.
The Bureau of Prisons disbanded the search team “under the guise of ‘right-sizing’ and cost-saving measures,” the union release says.
AFGE Local 4070 President Jon Zumkehr said he plans to address with members of Congress his concerns about the staffing cuts and the potential danger to staff, inmates, and the public, the release says.
“They continue to say we are going to be fine and no one is in jeopardy, but we are very much in jeopardy with all the recent incidents,” Zumkehr said in the release.
The Bureau of Prisons considers the prison fully staffed even though just 83% of jobs are filled, the union says in the release. The staffing shortages affect the ability of staff to rehabilitate prisoners with educational and skills classes, Zumkehr said.