05/03/05 — Defend prison jobs: Community can have impact on federal camp’s future

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Defend prison jobs: Community can have impact on federal camp’s future

The Federal Prison Camp at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is in the sights of the Bureau of Prisons.

When you hear that anything is on a government bureaucracy’s target list, you usually don’t waste too much time pondering a way to get it off.

Unless, of course, you understand that just like every government agency, the Bureau of Prisons responds to what could be called “targeted enthusiasm.”

To put it simply, the Bureau of Prisons is supervised — like all departments — by legislators who control the purse strings and the status the agency has in the federal pecking order.

And that means resources, people and raises.

So, if legislators are unhappy, and they make their feelings known loudly, publicly and constantly, who knows what might happen to plans for the prison camp?

But making that happen is really up to us.

There is still time to let your representatives and senators know that you don’t want to see the institution close down and the resources it provides leave this area. Calls, letters, e-mails, whatever it takes is what you want to do to get some attention on this issue in Washington.

And if, while you are writing, you mention that you are also concerned about the future of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, and that you don’t want to wait until it gets on a closure list before real action is taken, that’s just an added benefit.

This is another of those instances where the earlier we start, the better off we will be when the officials in Washington get around to making a decision.

The employees at the Federal Prison Camp need to know that this community is not going to stand by while they lose their jobs.

If we want to keep the prison here, we need to act now, with decisive and pervasive action.

The power of the people lies in the strength of their voices. Let’s show them just how “loud” Wayne County can be when its feathers get ruffled.

Published in Editorials on May 3, 2005 11:02 AM