Family visits canceled, guards driving for Uber, rising tensions and more.
by Eli Hager, The Marshall Project
The partial U.S. government shutdown is now in its third week [as of January 7, 2019], due largely to President Trump’s insistence that Congress give him more than $5 billion for a border wall he says will keep criminals from entering the country through Mexico.
Meanwhile, the federal employees tasked with keeping the nation safe from people convicted of crimes – prison guards – are laboring without pay.
Because the federal Bureau of Prisons is operating without funding, it has furloughed up to half of its 36,000-person staff, including many who provide therapeutic programs for prisoners and other services considered not to be “essential.” And the agency is asking its remaining employees to keep working unpaid, focusing on maintaining security even if that’s not usually their primary job.
This could remain the state of affairs until the next pay cycle in late January at the earliest – or even for months or years to come, according to Trump, who threatened to declare a national emergency in order to bypass Congress in the funding dispute.
“It’s an absolute disaster,” ...