“But I don’t blame them. If you are young and have a family and are continually told that you might not be going home tonight, that doesn’t work for a lot of people,” said Axford.
The prison competes with local law enforcement for its officers and the Mayo Clinic for its nurses.
“You can’t run a prison safely, neither for the staff there nor for the inmates there without the right number of staff,” Axford said.
Axford says staff shortage issues were widespread long before the pandemic. They just have never been addressed.
Salaries at the prison have remained the same for years. While other employers continually increase wages.
FMC asked the leadership and went to convention. But, still, there haven’t been any real changes.
The Federal Medical Center has asked staff members who are not officers to serve as officers for the day. Axford says this is becoming quite common.
“It exhausts the staff, but on the other side we have the officers and nurses who just said ‘Hey, no one came in, we have no staff, you can’t go home. “They don’t care if you have to get your kids off the bus, they don’t care if you have something planned after work,” Axford said. “If you don’t, you are disciplined. So these things lift the spirits into the ground.”
He says the only solution is to have a sufficient number of staff. But, he says, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon.
“There are certain things that we have to do by law. When we don’t have the staff to do them, prosecutions happen. And when prosecutions do happen, it is not the Bureau of Prisons that pays the costs. lawsuits are the taxpayers, ”he said. .
The prison still functions as it always does with inmates entering and inmates leaving.
“We’re here to keep people on the right side of the fence. There is a tipping point where it gets a lot harder to do and then the community suffers,” Axford said.
Prison staff say immunization warrants create another obstacle to this staff shortage.