Bob Kalinowski | Citizen’s Voice
The murder last month of federal Correctional Officer Eric Williams greatly influenced the decision to block furloughs for Bureau of Prisons employees, according to a congressman who helped secure the funding to maintain staffing levels.
During testimony to a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee last week, a union official for the correctional employees invoked the killing of the 34-year-old Nanticoke man while pleading with lawmakers to spare the Bureau of Prisons from the automatic budget reductions facing every other federal agency, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Philadelphia, said.
“He specifically talked about the death of this young man, Eric Williams. He said we need to prevent these furloughs,” Fattah said Monday in a telephone interview.
Fattah, the ranking House Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, said he and the three other subcommittee leaders quickly worked on a plan with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who was looking for ways to maintain funding for the Bureau of Prisons. They allowed Holder the ability to transfer $150 million of Justice Department funds to the Bureau of Prisons to avoid layoffs, he said…
The forced federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, shrunk Bureau of Prisons funding by 5 percent. If the furloughs had taken effect, the bureau's staffing levels would have reduced by a collective 3,570 employees each day. At United States Penitentiary at Canaan – the Wayne County prison where Williams worked – more than 30 workers would have been forced to take an unpaid shift off each day…(Full text at Citizen’s Voice)