The Council of Prison Locals 33, AFL-CIO USP Thomson, has responded to Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, along with Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, who are calling for an investigation into the conditions at Thomson’s federal prison.

They are responding to a report by National Public Radio and the Marshall Project that detail the deaths of seven inmates at the prison.

The reporting cites allegations of abuse by employees at the facility, including prison staff intentionally stoking tension between cellmates and encouraging assaults.

Many prison workers are represented by the American Federation of Government Employees. A statement from Jon Zumkehr, president, AFGE LOCAL 4070, USP Thomson, says:

“We cannot comment on an ongoing investigation, but we have been fighting to fully staff UPS Thomson. We are currently short 105 staff members, including 78 from custody,” the statement says.  

“We are committed to fully staff UPS Thomson and we have hosted monthly job fairs to bring new staff to USP Thomson,” the statement concludes.

The Marshall Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system