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Federal Employees News Digest : Oct. 1, 2012
October 1, 2012 Vol. 62, No. 12 5 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com and communities at risk, according to a Government Accountability Office report. BOP operates 117 federal prisons with approximately 178,000 inmates, and con- tracts with private companies and some state governments to house another 40,000 inmates. According to the report -- which looked at facilities in five states -- BOP prisons are currently 39 percent over capacity, and are expected to exceed 45 percent over capacity by 2018. The report notes that such over- crowding leads to inmate misconduct and safety issues due to increased inmate-to-staff ratios. BOP calculates the number of prisoners that each BOP-run institution can safely house. The population in BOP's high securi- ty population, for example, was about 21,000 in December 2011, which was about 7,000 more than its rated capacity. GAO says BOP has done what it can to address the overcrowding concerns, such as double- and triple-bunking inmates, stag- gering meal times and segregating problem inmates, among other efforts, but its author- ity is limited. The states reviewed in the report have also made efforts address the crowding issues, such as modifying criminal statutes and sen- tencing and providing certain inmates with additional opportunities for early release. No recommendations were made in the report, but the American Federation of Government Employees' Council of Prison Locals, which supported the findings, said it has long fought for additional resources and protection equipment for staff at BOP facilities. "This report confirms what we have been saying for years," CPL President Dale Deshotel said in a press statement. "Furthermore, this is a community safety issue. An overcrowded prison bursting at the seams that isn't properly staffed ultimately puts the surrounding community in danger." AFGE National President J. David Cox also commented on the report. "Properly staffing the facilities is the best way to combat the rising inmate population. It's an issue that must be addressed immedi- ately," Cox said. To see more, go to: http://www.gao.gov/ assets/650/648124.pdf. ••• In Brief Senators call for sequestration deal Warning of the potential effects of seques- tration, a bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to Senate leaders pledging their com- mitment to work to avoid the impending across-the-board cuts slated to take effect in January. "[W]e are committed to working together to help forge a balanced bipartisan deficit reduction package to avoid damage to our national security, important domestic priori- ties, and our economy," stated the letter that Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and four other members of the Senate sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The lawmakers cited several potentially devastating effects of a sequester, including a prediction by the Congressional Budget Office that the economy would go back into recession and raise unemployment more than 9 percent. They also referenced an Aerospace Industries Association estimate that roughly 2 million jobs will be lost from defense and domestic cuts alone. Furthermore, the senators wrote, "on the non-defense spending side, the adminis- tration reports that sequestration would 'undermine investments vital to economic growth, threaten the safety and security of the American people, and cause severe harm to programs that benefit the middle-class, seniors and children.'" The group urged other lawmakers to bring all ideas to the table for consideration in order to come to a compromise on either a short- or long-term budget solution that would avert sequestration. To see the letter, go to: http://tinyurl. com/99lzg6m. Defense Health HQ opens The Defense Health Headquarters offi- cially opened last month, consolidating the administration of the U.S. military health system at one location. Officials attended a ribbon-cutting cer- emony for the new facility, a product of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act. The move brings together more than 3,000 Military Health System employees at the new Falls Church, Va., location. The move, which collocates Army, Navy and Air Force health leadership, will enable a joint approach to military health care and enterprise decision-making, according to a news report from the American Forces Press Service. The headquarters is the new home of the DoD Office of Health Affairs, excluding some positions that remain at the Pentagon. Other offices relocated to the facility include the Army Office of the Surgeon General, the Air Force Surgeon General's Office, the Navy Bureau of Medicine, and Tricare Management Activity. The new facility consists of three inter- connected buildings dating to the 1950s and 1980s that were stripped down to their framing. The buildings were refitted with modern, energy-efficient components, and reopened as a LEED Silver-CI--certified envi- ronmentally friendly campus. To see more, go to: http://www.tricare.mil/ dhhq/default.aspx.e, Grad internship application opens next month The Office of Personnel Management said it expects the application for the Presidential Management Fellows program for 2013 to be available Nov. 5. OPM said the application is slated to be available on that date through a job oppor- tunity announcement posted on USAJOBS. Applicants can locate the listing at that time by searching on the USAJOBS website for "Presidential Management Fellows," the agency said. The application period will close two-weeks later at 11:59:59 p.m. EST, Nov. 19, OPM said. The program, which is for masters-level or professional degree candidates, is one of three new Pathways programs that went into effect in July under an executive order aimed at making federal internship hiring more transparent and streamlined. The other two programs include the Internship Program for current students, and the Recent Graduates continued from page 4 continued on page 8
Sept. 24, 2012
Oct. 8, 2012