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Resolutions & Amendments

31st International Convention - San Diego, CA (1994)

Staffing in Prisons and Jails

Resolution No. 77
31st International Convention
June 27-July 1, 1994
San Diego, CA


            Correctional systems in the United States continue to be overcrowded. As of January 1, 1993, over two-thirds of state and federal prison systems were operating at or above their capacity. These included some of the largest systems in the country, such as Ohio, Illinois, Texas, and New York; and


            The inmate population of the United States is projected to increase significantly. Over two-thirds of state correctional systems anticipate increases of ten percent or more in their inmate populations by 1995; and


            One-half of state correctional systems are planning to increase their prison capacity by 10% or more in order to keep pace with the anticipated growth in inmate population; and


            These planned increases in prison capacity, however, will have a minimal impact upon the ability of correctional systems to keep pace with the growing inmate population. As a result, two-thirds of these systems including most of the largest states will continue to operate at or above capacity and will remain dangerously overcrowded; and


            Prison overcrowding combined with understaffing increases the danger of corrections personnel being assaulted on the job, sometimes resulting in the murder of correctional officers as in the case of Bob Vallandingham in Ohio and Mark Avery in Kansas.


            That it is the policy of AFSCME and its councils and locals that correctional systems increase staffing commensurate with any increase in inmate population so that the resulting ratio of inmates to uniformed correctional officers does not increase; and


            That AFSCME councils and locals utilize both collective bargaining and the political and legislative process to establish adequate ratios of inmates to correctional officers for prisons and jails; and


            That AFSCME councils and locals lobby state and local legislatures to ensure that whenever legislation that could increase the number of persons incarcerated is considered, a prison impact assessment be conducted. This assessment shall address the prospective number of inmates, the affected prisons, the ability of those prisons to house the inmates, and the effect that an increase in the number of inmates would have on the ratio of inmates to correctional officers. Such legislation should also include a mandatory increase in the period of time incarcerated.



Amie R. Swenson, President and Delegate
AFSCME Local 1553, Council 2

Donald G. Mckee, President and Delegate
Dick Palmer, Secretary- Treasurer and Delegate
AFSCME Council 61