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AFGE Continues Call For Additional Staffing, Pepper Spray In Bureau Of Prisons

Union for federal prison officers cites recent officer assault at USP - Pollock

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Federation of Government Employees and its Council of Prison Locals today renewed its call on the Obama administration, Congress and the Bureau of Prisons to immediately increase the bureau's staffing levels and expand the use of pepper spray for correctional officers in an effort to protect staff from a dangerous spike in violence throughout the federal prison system.

The call for action follows another near-deadly assault on a correctional officer in the line of duty. Cory Barron, a correctional officer at the United States Penitentiary – Pollock in Louisiana, was assaulted by an inmate last week while investigating suspicious activity in a cell. An inmate struck Barron in the head with a lock and continued to assault the officer until additional staff, armed with pepper spray, were able to intervene. Barron required immediate medical attention after the assault.  

"Once again we see the critical need for additional staff and protective equipment throughout BOP," said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. "In this case, the additional staff armed with pepper spray may have saved an officer's life."

The assault continues a dangerous outbreak of violence in BOP. Eric Williams, 34, died on Feb. 25 after being assaulted by an inmate with a homemade weapon at the United States Penitentiary – Canaan in northeastern Pennsylvania. Williams was employed by BOP for less than two years.

In the wake of Williams' death, BOP agreed to expand its pepper spray pilot program to all high security institutions – an increase from the seven facilities testing the program.

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