Prison employees worry about furloughs

UPDATE: Prison employee Tyson Clellan provided WPDE NewsChannel 15 with a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder. It states, "using my limited authorities to transfer and allocate existing funds from within the Department, I provided $150 million to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to avoid furloughing correctional workers at our prison institutions."

About a dozen employees with the Federal Correctional Institution of Bennettsville picketed Wednesday afternoon over the sequester fallout.

The employees will furloughed April through September. Each employee is required to take two days off a month without pay.

They say Congress' failure to pass a budget has hit their pockets and put their safety at risk inside the prison.

"We're going to be furloughed on the streets for 14 days without pay. The security will be lessened. I mean, less staff means less staff to watch the inmates. Less staff means more opportunity for inmates to do what they do, play games violence," said Tyson Clellan, federal prison employee.

The employees picketed outside the prison on Muckerman Road. They held signs and chanted for Congress to do what's right and do their job.

"We're picketing against Congress to pass the budget so we won't be furloughed," Clellan said.

The employees hope their demonstration sends a message to their leaders in Washington.

The Federal Correctional Institution of Bennettsville employs about 330 people and houses more than 1,800 inmates, according to employees.