Marino seeks GAO update on federal prison bureau’s staffing policies, practices

U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) earlier this month requested a government review of Federal Bureau of Prison (BOP) staffing procedures and practices.

The congressman’s request continues his efforts to determine staffing ratios and staff cuts and transfers of specially trained staff and other resources from locations in need that have been made by the U.S. Department of Justice and BOP.

“I hope that this report, when completed, will bring more attention, perspective and information to these staffing policies and procedures so that we do not jeopardize the safety and security of correctional officers, inmates and the general public,” Rep. Marino said on Dec. 14.

Rep. Marino, who is joined by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, requested that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), America’s watchdog for Congress, conduct the review.

Previous GAO reports show that BOP lacks a sufficient number of employed correctional officers, in turn creating potential safety concerns, according to a statement from Rep. Marino’s office.

BOP currently relies on augmentation, a process it uses to address the shortage in which administrative employees temporarily serve as correctional officers. Earlier GAO analysis, however, hasn’t assessed the BOP-wide use of augmentation, according to the statement.

Rep. Marino thinks the federal government needs an up-to-date review of these procedures and practices.

“The Bureau of Prisons can and must do more to ensure that correctional officers in our federal prisons are operating in a safe work environment,” the congressman said. “These dangerous staffing levels that contribute to incidents of violence are unacceptable.”

The BOP, he added, “needs to take a comprehensive look at these policies and make sure they are doing everything possible to maintain safety and order in their prisons.”