WASHINGTON, April 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Jill Carver teaches parenting skills to more than a hundred men every day, but these are no ordinary students. Jill works inside a medium-security federal prison in West Virginia, and her students are inmates.
"The Bureau of Prisons is not for everyone. You have to have a certain mentality to work in a federal prison," Jill says. "We know that we are the last line of defense. We keep inmates in and we keep the community safe."
Jill shares her story in the latest documentary produced by the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents Jill and more than 37,000 other bargaining unit employees throughout the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The documentary series is part of AFGE's year-long campaign, "I Am AFGE," to increase the public's awareness and appreciation of the women and men who work for them every day.
The men and women who work in federal prisons risk their lives just going to work. Federal prisons are overcrowded and understaffed, resulting in significant increases in inmate assaults against correctional workers. Three officers have been killed in the past five years.
"I'm a teacher and I'm the only staff member in that room with 25 to 30 inmates every day, and I have four classes a day," Jill says in the video.
Jill credits AFGE for fighting to improve working conditions for correctional workers through the Safe Prisons Project. She is president of AFGE Local 404, which represents more than 250 employees at Federal Correctional Institution Beckley in Beaver, W. Va.
"We're the ones who fight for stab resistant vests. We're the ones who fight for those extra employees that are there," Jill says. "Our goal is to make sure that our staff is safe. That's what we fight for every day."
For Jill, ensuring a safe work environment also means protecting her family: she has two sons and a daughter-in-law who work in the federal prison system.
"I want both of my sons to be proud that they stepped into my footsteps and moved forward into the federal prisons. I don't want them to say, 'Mom, what did you get us into?'" she says.
Jill's story is one of 15 short-form documentaries being released by AFGE every three weeks through the end of the year, highlighting individual federal employees who carry out important work across the country.
All of the videos will be posted online and distributed to hundreds of news outlets across the country. The campaign also is being promoted through social media, an employee photo contest and other events.
In addition, a special toll-free phone line has been established to record and share testimonials from federal employees or citizens who value the services that federal employees provide. The number to call is 1-844-IAM-AFGE (426-2343).
"AFGE is proud to represent more than 30,000 Bureau of Prisons officers and staff across the country who protect us from violent and dangerous criminals, often at their own peril," AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. "They and all other government employees are the most dedicated workers you could ever have the fortune of meeting. This campaign is our way of shining a light on them and reminding the public why the work that they do matters."
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.
SOURCE American Federation of Government Employees