Bastrop prison employees hoping for long-term solution to shutdo

Bastrop prison employees hoping for long-term solution to shutdown

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Jeff Ormsby has worked at the Federal Correctional Institution in Bastrop County for more than 20 years.

He and his co-workers have a bone to pick with Uncle Sam.

"It's a slap in the face when you see inmates sitting there watching cable tv and you don't know how you're gonna pay your next cable bill," Ormsby said.

Ormsby is an automotive worker supervisor at the prison but he's also the president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees.

He says this Tuesday, the 230 prison employees affected by the furlough got half of a paycheck...the "half" is from the week before the government shut down.

"They're federal law enforcement officers that are walking behind the fence keeping sex offenders, child molesters, rapists, murderers, terrorists all behind the fence while not being paid! They don't know when their next check's gonna be. They don't know whether they're gonna get paid on time or how much it will be," he said.

And the prisoners, Ormsby says, are still getting paid for their work...and fed too.

"The inmates Saturday got to eat filet mignon wrapped in bacon. We have staff members that don't know how they're going to buy their next gallon of milk," Ormsby said.

We asked some people in downtown Bastrop what they think about that.

"They're not making money and they've gotta go to work and the government's getting paid and they're not doing us any favors. I think it's a pretty rotten deal," said Mike Bell.

"The prisoners and the senators and the congressman....haha! That's ridiculous, that's ridiculous," said local goldsmith Chris Parachini.

Parachini says his church is raising money for the prison employees during their time of need.

"The crazy thing about it is that they're getting jacked late fees for their electric bills, water bills all that...and you know they're not gonna be compensated for that," Parachini said.

When we spoke with Ormsby Wednesday afternoon, the temporary bill hadn't passed yet. But he says it doesn't help their situation much.

"If they pass this bill tonight, it's just a temporary fix. It's a band-aid on a gunshot wound is what it is. So in January we're going through this whole scenario again wondering when our next check is gonna be," Ormsby said.

Calls we put in to the prison for comment were not returned by news time this evening.

We also tried calling the Media Relations office for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. We only got a message saying "due to a lapse in appropriations" they couldn't return our call.

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