The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


October 20, 2012

Ratio of prisoners to pen guards up 19.6%

By Francis Scarcella

The Daily Item

SUNBURY — That cooks, nurses and secretaries sometimes act as guards at short-handed federal penitentiaries alarms U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, who says he will address the increasingly disparate inmate-to-corrections officer ratio if re-elected Nov. 6.

Guards, Marino said Wednesday in Sunbury, are in danger.

“These guys need help,” he said. “This is one thing I will be looking into and seeing how we can get this fixed.”

The number of inmates in federal lockups grew 41.7 percent between 2000 and 2011, from 125,560 to 177,934, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Operations staff at federal prisons grew only 18.4 percent in that time period, from 30,382 to 35,987.

The Bureau of Prisons inmate-to-staff ratio increased 19.6 percent in those 11 years, from 4.13 prisoners per guard to 4.94 inmates per guard.

The increase in the number of inmates, without a corresponding growth in the number of operations staff, unnecessarily endangers prison workers, said Marino, R-10, of Cogan Station.

Read more of this story in Sunday's edition of The Daily Item.

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