(WASHINGTON) — Leaders from the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Prisons gathered on a rainy Tuesday morning in Washington to honor the sacrifice and service of fallen federal correctional officers during National Correctional Officers Week.
From May 7 to May 13, correctional officers and corrections professionals — more than two-dozen of whom have died in the line of duty — are honored for their service and sacrifice from both federal and state prisons, the Bureau of Prisons said.
“We gather together today to honor the memory of those Bureau employees who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” Bureau of Prisons Director Colete Peters told the group of family members and leaders gathered at the National Law Enforcement Memorial. “We must never forget the tragedies of the past and the corrections professional’s lives cut short while ensuring the public’s safety and working to prepare those in custody for successful reentry into our communities.”
Peters highlighted the 26 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout history. Peters highlighted the cases of Royal Cline, a corrections officer who died at USP Alcatraz in 1938 shortly after the BOP was established, and Lt. Osvaldo Albarati, who was murdered in 2013 after he was targeted by inmates on his way home from work at Metropolitan Detention Center Guaynabo in Puerto Rico.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told those gathered that BOP officers and employees risk their lives to ensure the safety and security of the American public.
“Our country is made better because of the dedication of the public servants that make up the Bureau of Prisons,” she said. “Those who go to work for the Bureau of Prisons, who answer the call to serve, often put themselves in harm’s way to do demanding and dangerous jobs. They go about that work quietly, often without praise or thanks, simply hoping to carry out their work protecting their communities and then return safely home to their families.”
Shane Fausey who serves as the President of the Council of Prison Locals, the largest union representing more than 30,000 federal corrections officers, applauded correctional employees as “extraordinary human beings that run towards danger when most people go the other way.”
“We take pause to remember those men and women that have died in the line of duty protecting the American way of life. We are forever grateful and indebted to them and their families,” said Fausey.
There are 159,634 federal inmates as of last Thursday, according to BOP.
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