USP official: Prison continues to hire new staff

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

The U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth has had success recruiting new employees this year and remains committed to a national hiring initiative of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, according to a spokesman for the federal prison in Leavenworth.

On Friday, members of a union representing employees of the USP conducted an informational picket in front of the penitentiary. They raised concerns about what they characterized as a staffing shortage at the USP.

Joe Gulley, president of Local 919 of the American Federation of Government Employees, said the staffing shortage is causing safety issues at the prison.

Tom Brantley, executive assistant and camp administrator for the USP, said in a statement that the prison has hired 24 new employees since Jan. 1.

"Leavenworth’s increase in staffing not only enhances the safety and well-being of employees and inmates, but also provides rewarding careers in positions of leadership and mentorship, from corrections officers to educators," Brantley said in the statement.

The statement was issued on behalf of the USP in response to questions submitted by the Leavenworth Times.

Brantley said the USP currently has 24 vacancies with 10 additional employees scheduled to begin working at the facility during the next two months.

Since the launch of the BOP's national hiring initiative in February, the USP, in conjunction with a BOP regional office in Kansas City, Kansas, has hosted a monthly hiring event.

"Even with some personnel retirements and transfers, staffing levels at USP Leavenworth continue to rise as a result of the institution’s participation in the hiring initiative," Brantley said in the statement.

During Friday's informational picket, Gulley said employees who hold other positions at the prison are being used to augment the correctional officers, taking them away from their normal duties.

Brantley said the USP continues to decrease the need for augmentation.

He said people can visit www.bop.gov/jobs/ for information about employment opportunities.

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