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Federal Prison Employees In San Diego Working Without Pay During Government Shutdown

A Federal Bureau of Prisons sign outside of the Metropolitan Correction Cente...

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: A Federal Bureau of Prisons sign outside of the Metropolitan Correction Center in downtown San Diego, Jan. 17, 2019.

Federal Bureau of Prisons employees at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown San Diego are working without pay during the partial government shutdown. The facility houses more than 800 inmates.

"It’s tough to not know when the next paycheck is going to come," said Dustin Spina who works at the correctional facility. "We’ve got to really take a look at our finances and make sure that we’re prioritizing appropriately."

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Spina is also treasurer of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3619.

"Every time our officers, and myself included, go into work we go further in the hole and eventually people are going to run out of money," Spina said. "They’re not going to be able to come to work anymore. They’re going to have to decide — do I want to put food on my table or do I want to put gas in my car to go to work?"

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Spina said he has contacted his mortgage lender who said it will work with him if the shutdown continues and more paychecks are missed.

"I think the general rule of thumb is to have three to six months of emergency funds set up," Spina said. "After that, I can’t say me personally that I would stick around. I would say that I would have to go out and try to find other employment and to try to start over. I’ve got 15 years in the government service — I don’t want to start over. Yet when push comes to shove I’ve got to pay my bills and I’ve got to take care of my family."

Spina said he is also worried about officer staffing and the impact the shutdown could have on daily operations at the prison.

Federal Prison Employees In San Diego Working Without Pay During Government Shutdown

Workers at the Metropolitan Correctional Center that houses more than 800 inmates downtown are impacted by the partial government shutdown.

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Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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