LEWISBURG — Staffing at the United States Penitentiary (USP) Lewisburg has again drawn the attention of the union representing its corrections officers.

Andrew Kline, American Federation of Government Employees Local 148 president, cited hiring freezes, budget and staff cuts, transfers and retirements among actions which have thinned the ranks of officers.

“Combine all these things and our staff continually sent (on temporary duty) to help prop up the (New York City) institutions and others and the nation wide call to curtail overtime last week, the perfect storm is upon us,” Kline wrote in response to an inquiry. “Staffing is our most critical concern, in years past and currently.”

Kline wrote in the aftermath of a surge in confirmed COVID-19 positive tests among inmates, a number which has held steady at 35 since Saturday. He noted there were no positive tests among staff members and that employees were doing their best to contain the outbreak.

There have been no recent inmate transfers to Lewisburg a Bureau of Prisons spokesperson said on Monday. The prospect of an 900-inmate transfer from a storm-damaged federal prison raised concerns among union officials in April.

Staff writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at matt@standard-journal.com.

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