Thousands of Feds in Prison

Wednesday - 7/28/2010, 4:00am EDT

Every day of the week thousand of federal civil servants go to prison. Most of them do at least 20 years behind bars. Others are lifers.

The difference is that unlike the 211,000 inmates currently in federal prisons, the U.S. government civil servants who guard, protect and provide services can go home at the end of their shift. Unlike the prisoners who are there 24/7.

Earlier this month Federal News Radio did a series on interesting and unusual federal jobs. They range from the strange-but-true to high-profile, but little understood, occupations and individuals.

The story of feds behind bars is interesting because unlike the movies, where Mafia dons wearing smoking jackets and get catered carry-out, they know what really goes on inside the facilities.

Prisons are a big business in the U.S.. According to some studies the U.S.A., Russia and South Africa have the highest proportion of their citizens incarcerated.

Some people say that is way too many. They say that people get long terms for some jail offenses, and lesser punishment for others.

Some say our laws are racial, ethnic or class-oriented. And that more money should be poured into education, prevention and rehabilitation.

Others say that not enough people who deserve it are behind bars. Or are released too soon (especially in state prison systems) because of overcrowding and costs.

So we thought you'd like to know what goes on in prisons, what really happens, and what needs to happen from the viewpoint of been-there-done-that feds who know.

So our guest this morning (10 a.m. EDT) on our Your Turn with Mike Causey radio show is Bryan Lowry, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Council of Prison Locals. The AFL-CIO union represents most non-supervisory Bureau of Prisons personnel at the federal lockups.

BOP, with 39,000 employees, is part of the Justice Department. There are federal prison facilities in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Georgia, California, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Ohio, New Jersey, Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi and South Dakota. You may live near one and not be aware of it.

Some of the facilities are there because they are near heavy population centers. Some are in isolated areas. In some communities the prison and support staff is the mainstay of the local economy. It is a fascinating and little known world.

You can listen live at www.federalnewsradio.com or in the DC area at WFED 1500 AM. The show will also be archived on our show site for later listening. If you have questions/suggestions about how the federal prison system works, send them to me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

According to AOLJobs, in order to counteract the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time at work, "experts suggest taking frequent breaks from sitting".


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