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U.S. Sen. Manchin issues statement on pay raise for FCC Hazelton staff

Pay incentive applies to all employees in good standing and will remedy severe staffing shortages and improve safety for inmates and employees

WASHINGTON, DC – On April 11, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement after the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approved a 25 percent retention pay incentive for all staff in good standing at West Virginia’s Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) Hazelton. The retention incentive is a direct result of Senator Manchin’s continued efforts to improve conditions at FCC Hazelton and will reduce staff attrition, boost morale and create a safer environment for employees and inmates.

“I have repeatedly called on BOP and OPM to approve this 25 percent retention incentive for all staff in good standing at FCC Hazelton and I’m pleased to announce its approval today. The facility has long suffered from severe staffing shortages, especially of Correctional Officers, that have resulted in a hostile environment for both employees and inmates. This pay incentive is much-deserved for current employees and will help recruit new qualified officers and staff, which will promote safer conditions for employees and inmates,” said Senator Manchin. “There is still much more we can do, including advancing my Federal Prison Oversight Act, and I will continue working to deliver commonsense solutions for FCC Hazelton and all federal prisons.”

“Hazleton Local 420 and its members are grateful that the 25% retention has been approved. This retention incentive is another step in addressing the staffing crisis at FCC Hazelton by retaining the qualified and experienced staff at this institution. The Correctional Officers and workers have been carrying the burden of forced overtime for far too long and are truly deserving of this incentive. Local 420 is thankful for all of the time and effort that Senator Manchin and his office has performed in addressing the staffing crisis at FCC Hazelton, and for continuing to help make the institution safer for the staff, inmates, and surrounding community,” said Justin Tarovisky, Head of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 420.

Located in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, FCC Hazelton comprises the high-security United States Penitentiary Hazelton, which houses over 1,500 inmates, as well as the smaller Federal Correctional Institute Hazelton. According to data from BOP and the AFGE Local 420, FCC Hazelton has averaged between 70-85 Correctional Officer vacancies and 30-45 staff vacancies since the beginning of 2023.

Senator Manchin’s efforts to promote staff and inmate safety at FCC Hazelton and all federal prisons:

  • On February 15, 2024, Senator Manchin released a statement after the DOJ published a new report on inmate deaths in federal prisons and again pushed for the retention pay incentive.
  • On November 2, 2023, Senator Manchin sent a letter to Federal BOP Director Colette Peters, urging her to approve a 25 percent retention incentive for all staff in good standing at Hazelton. According to data from BOP and AFGE Local 420, FCC Hazelton has averaged between 70-85 CO vacancies over the past year.
  • On September 12, 2023, Senator Manchin sent a letter to Attorney General Garland, Deputy Attorney General Monaco, and BOP Director Peters urging them to investigate conditions at Hazelton.
  • On July 14, 2023, Senator Manchin secured in the Appropriations Committee-passed FY24 Commerce-Justice-Science funding bill language expressing concern with staffing shortages at BOP facilities, and high-security facilities in particular. The bill also includes language supporting the IG’s initiative to devote more dedicated resources to allegations of BOP misconduct.
  • On May 17, 2023, Senator Manchin introduced the Federal Prison Oversight Act, bipartisan legislation that would create a new oversight structure to ensure transparency, safety, and accountability in federal correctional facilities.
  • On March 28, 2023, Senator Manchin questioned U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on addressing law enforcement personnel shortages in West Virginia, including at Hazelton.
  • On October 26, 2018, Senator Manchin wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to express concerns about staffing practices at the BOP.

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