Texarkana federal prison union issues budget cut alert - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Texarkana federal prison union issues budget cut alert

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TEXARKANA, TX (KSLA) -

In continuing our coverage of the effect of the sequestration impact in the ArkLaTex, KSLA has discovered that the federal prison in Texarkana, Texas has sent out letters to employees saying what would happen after the budget cuts take effect.

The Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana has 282 employees. The staff began receiving letters last week to prepare them for possible furloughs.

There is safety concern about possible layoffs because a couple of prison guards were killed recently. Lack of manpower is at issue.

"The concern for the union is the overall safety for the general public and also the staff inside the correctional institution," says union representative Robert Young of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 2459.

"Due to the fact that this sequestering coming down, we will have problems having staff there in the Institution to provide proper security," Young says.

The letter received by employees says workers could lose 8 hours per pay period. It also says that the furloughs would begin April 21 and continue until Sept. 30.

Just recently, two federal Bureau of Prisons employees have been killed, one in a Pennsylvania prison and the other in Puerto Rico.

Young says this shows the danger of furloughing correctional officers.

"If these incidents are happening with staff being on line now, our concern now is the overall security and safety when sequestration starts and officers are furloughed."

President Barack Obama signed on Friday night an order authorizing the government to begin cutting $85 billion from federal accounts, officially enacting across-the-board reductions that he opposed but failed to avert.

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