April 24, 2013BERLIN — The number of new employees hired at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI-Berlin) will be affected for as long as sequestration is in effect, according to information relayed by U. S. Senator Kelly Ayotte's office.
As of April 15, the number of male inmates incarcerated in both the medium-security main facility and the minimum-security work camp totaled 179.
Sequestration will slow down the full ramp-up of inmates being moved into the new facility as well as the number of employees hired to operate it.
Hiring is now capped at 251 — a level of staffing that will only allow for approximately 500 inmates to be housed at the facility.
FCI-Berlin was designed to house 1,152 male offenders in the medium-security facility and 128 minimum-security male inmates, making a grand total of 1,280.
The federal prison had 239 employees on its roster at mid-month, and 10 more started last week.
This brings the roster to roughly 70 percent of the facility's planned hiring; 95 are local hires.
The number of employees and inmates at FCI-Berlin affects the quantity of dollars moving through the local economy in many ways, ranging from products sold by local vendors to the number of patient admissions expected at Androscoggin Valley Hospital.
Funding for FCI-Berlin is in place until September 30.
When the prison was ceremonially opened in October 2012 there were a total of 139 employees.
According to prison officials, the average inmate stay is 10 years.
Warden Deborah Schult, Ph.D., a native of Billerica, Mass., who earned her doctorate in psychology, recently told local officials that she does not believe there will be any appreciable influx of inmate families into the area.