Federal budget cuts cause concern at FCI Texarkana

Federal budget cuts cause concern at FCI Texarkana
(Source: Fred Gamble/KSLA News 12)

TEXARKANA, TX (KSLA) - The Federal Budget is causing the elimination of jobs nationwide. In Texarkana the latest business to be affected says such position cuts are creating a safety issue for both employees and the public.

The Federal Correctional Institution of Texarkana has been in existence for more than 75 years.

On Tuesday, representatives of the local union expressed concerns over staffing at the facility.

Since January — 41 positions have been eliminated. There are 241 positions at FCI Texarkana with approximately 1200 inmates.

Prison officials say all prisons in the South Central Region are being affected by staffing cuts. FCI Texarkana union president Donnie Golden said they are hoping the cuts are not the beginning of other drastic measures for the Federal Prison System.

"We can not be sure of any institution remaining opened at this time. Golden said. Texarkana, we are hopeful that we will not be closed but we are not guaranteed of that this moment."

"In my personal opinion it hurts," said Robert Young, the 2nd Vice President of the union at FCI Texarkana.

"They are asking us to cut more staff and still operate with the security of the institution," Young said.

In 2005 the Bureau of Prisons instituted the initiative "Mission Critical" in which staffing at federal prisons was reduced to the minimum amount to safely operate each facility.

Now 10 years later Young says the cutting of more employees is creating a safety issue.

"If you look at it all of us are homesteaders, we were born and raise here," Young said. "Our concern is not only for the security inside but also for the community because these are our neighbors."

Golden said pay for-profit prisons are contributing to the cuts.

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