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FLEOA on Potential Early Release of Fed Prisoners

FLEOA Statement on the Potential Early Release of Federal Prisoners 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                March 30, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – Larry Cosme, National President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), today issued the following statement regarding the early release of federal prisoners during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

"During the COVID-19 outbreak, it is the priority of all within the federal government to limit the spread of the virus, maintain public health, and maintain public safety. As our nation pursues ways to social distance, there is increasing concern surrounding federal prisons given that prisons inherently require clusters of individuals to cohabitate as they serve their sentence. The Bureau of Prisons has taken significant actions to mitigate the risk of exposure to the virus, such as suspending social visits and suspending inmate movement with limited exceptions,” said President Cosme.

"We have recently learned that the federal government is considering following the actions of some states and allowing the release of inmates as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of COVID-19. As the White House considers the best action to take to maintain public health, we encourage them to carefully consider the potential impact this move would have on already burdened federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, particularly U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Officers,” Cosme explained. 

"Once an inmate exits prison whether they are released during their pretrial stage or post- conviction stage, it is the job of the brave men and women of the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Agency to supervise those formerly incarcerated individuals and ensure they no longer pose a threat to the American people. Unfortunately, across the nation, Probation and Pretrial Services Offices have long been understaffed causing an already apparent strain on the existing workforce,” Cosme furthered. "Additionally, Probation and Pretrial Services Officers are currently the only federal law enforcement officers functionally ineligible for overtime compensation—which is particularly problematic given the non-traditional hours officers must work and the requirement to be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep our communities safe. Allowing for the release of inmates at this time and before providing the additional resources and compensation needed to supervise them could easily cause more harm than good to the community.” 

"Federal law enforcement officers working within the Bureau of Prison, U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Division, and across the federal government are more committed than ever to protecting the American people as we navigate this global pandemic. But policymakers must not underestimate the stress and strain these officers are operating under. It is imperative that law enforcement has the personnel, protective equipment, and appropriate compensation needed to carry out their important duties and serve the American people,”Cosme concluded. 

FLEOA is the nation’s largest non-partisan, not-for-profit professional association representing more than 28,000 federal law enforcement officers and agents across 65 federal agencies.