Although the United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, it has 25 percent of the world’s total prison population. That’s not counting things like county lockups and city jails.
Federal prisons are overcrowded and in Texas, nearly 19,000 people are incarcerated in federal prisons alone. According to a report in USA Today the job of overseeing the prisoners is falling to nurses with little or no experience in security.
Kevin Johnson, who covers national law enforcement issues and the Justice Department for the USA Today, says North Carolina, Texas and Washington state are experiencing the guard shortage at major facilities, but the situation exists beyond those states – it’s happening throughout the federal system.
Johnson says he was reporting on a labor dispute within the prison system between civilian workers and medical professionals from the U.S. public health service when he received tips that medical personnel were being shifted to guard duty. Medical staffers were being asked to move inmates around maximum security prisons and handcuff prisoners.