Local union joins U.S. senators in asking DOJ to address understaffing, unsustainable working conditions at Federal Correctional Complex in Florence

Concerns about unsustainable working conditions and understaffing have led to calls for an increase in retention bonuses for workers at the Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) in Florence. The complex is home to four separate facilities including ADX Florence, a supermax unit housing the nation's most dangerous, high-profile criminals.

In a letter addressed to the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper requested a 25-percent retention bonus for all FCC Florence staff in an effort to avoid attrition and help increase staffing numbers.

"FCC Florence is our nation’s only federal super maximum facility, yet it remains one of the most understaffed prisons in the country," the letter said. "Fatigue, exhaustion, and low morale have reduced staff productivity and led to more sick leave, retirements, and resignations." 

According to the letter and the local union representing workers at FCC, the facility is short at least 188 correctional staff members, which contributes to what they call "an unsustainable environment." 

American Federation of Government Employees Local 1169 joined Hickenlooper and Bennet in their request.

“Having the support of our state’s two U.S. senators means so much to the correctional officers and staff who are in desperate need of help,” AFGE Local 1169 President John Butkovich said in a statement. “FCC Florence employees are understaffed, overworked, and facing dangerous working conditions that must be addressed.”

In the same statement, Butkovich said there have been two inmate homicides and six serious assaults at FCC in the past year.

Certain positions at the facility have already received a 25-percent bonus, including correctional officers and non-custody staff. If approved, this request would make that the case for all staff.

Sens. Hickenlooper and Bennet have asked for a response by Dec. 20  from the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The agency did not respond to a request for comment but did confirm they have received the letter.

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