ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Deep automatic budget cuts are set to take effect if Congress can't reach an agreement by Friday, and the impact of what's being called sequestration would be felt around the country, including in Rochester.
A person on staff at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester tells KTTC that Federal Medical Center staff were told in meetings on Thursday there was a possibility of being asked to begin furlough days because of federal budget cuts.
They were told that it could be one day every two weeks going forward, or about two days a month, as unpaid days off.
Officials at Federal Medical Center declined to comment on the possibility of furloughs, but the Justice Department released the following statement to KTTC.
"The Justice Department is acutely concerned about staff and inmate safety should sequestration occur. Sequestration would mean $338 million less for the Bureau of Prison's (BOP) budget, but would not reduce the nearly 218,000 inmates in BOP custody. All of BOP's staff would be subject to possible furlough should cuts of the sequestration's magnitude hit BOP. To the extent possible, BOP will schedule the potential furloughs to minimize the disruption within the prison facilities and will always maintain a minimum level of staff for security purposes. Prison operations will be affected, however, and intermittent partial or full lock-downs may be required. BOP will need to curtail inmate programs such as drug treatment and vocational education, which would lead to higher costs to taxpayers and communities in the long run as the lack of such inmate re-entry training makes it less likely that released inmates will be successful at reintegration into society upon their release. While the Justice Department is considering what steps can be taken to aid BOP, none of the Department's actions can mitigate the severity of every cut faced by BOP."
There are about 450 people working at the Rochester facility.
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