Louisiana delegation urge Bureau of Prisons to ensure staff levels at FCC Oakdale

Published 6:45 am Tuesday, June 14, 2022

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) led Louisiana’s congressional delegation in urging the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to address staffing shortages and roles at Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) Oakdale in Allen Parish.

FCC Oakdale houses approximately 2,000 federal inmates and faces unsustainably low staffing levels that is nearing crisis. There are approximately 116 staff vacancies, including 65 vacancies for correctional services staff, at the facility. These vacancies force FCC Oakdale to rely on mandatory overtime in order to meet the basic safety needs of its mission.

“The use of mandatory overtime and augmentation as a solution to chronic staffing shortages is a dangerous practice. These practices lead to exhaustion, fatigue, and apprehension among FCC Oakdale employees. Sadly, these solutions are increasingly becoming the norm at FCC Oakdale and elsewhere,” wrote the lawmakers.

“As concerned members of the Louisiana Delegation, we write to inquire about actions the Bureau of Prisons plans to take in order to maintain adequate staffing levels at the FCC Oakdale facility. We ask that you consider using existing authorities, such as the ability to provide retention bonuses, that will keep staff onboard and allow FCC Oakdale to attract additional personnel needed to perform critical staffing functions,” they explained.

The delegation’s request would not require any additional funding, as the BOP already has funds that could be used to support safety by providing retention bonuses to Oakdale staff.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.), Mike Johnson (R-La.), Julia Letlow (R-La.), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Garret Graves (R-La.) and Troy Carter (D-La.) also signed the letter.

The full letter with its specific requests for information is available here.