Govt Shutdown Causes a Financial Nightmare for Federal Prison Employees

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Marianna- Employees at the Federal Correctional Institution in Marianna said they were frustrated by the government shutdown, that entered day 15 on Tuesday.

"The essential employees- law enforcement officers and services we can't do without- are required to work. We just aren't getting paid and are not certain when we will get paid" Marianna Federal Correctional Institute Local 4036 Union President, Jeff Godwin explained. "And" he continued, "we as federal law enforcement officers are required to settle our just debts. If this rocks on for several more weeks and several more pay periods, how are employees expected to deal with things like their mortgages and car payments?"

Over 300 people work at FCI in Marianna, and as union president, Godwin has been facing tough questions from most of them.

"'When will we get paid?' 'What will we tell our creditors in the mean time?' 'What if I have an absences and I can't be at work today?' 'Am I allowed to use sick leave?'" He recalled, naming some of the most common and concerning questions his employees had been asking. Godwin told us he sadly didn't have the answers he wished he did. "These are some of the things that we're having a tough time getting straight answers out of DC on," he said.

Godwin also said he was worried about employee safety and the prison conditions, which he describes to us as over-crowded and under-staffed.

"Not staffing a prison is a recipe for disaster. So, I am glad that we're fully staffed. But, if we don't find resolution- find a way to pay our employees before long- I am concerned about the possibility of trying to go to a skeleton crew or operating this on a tight budget and not filling over time positions that are needed. That's a very real concern."

He told us the US House had passed a bill to retroactively pay all furloughed employees, but as of Tuesday, it was still hung up in the Senate.

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