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Shutdown Increases The Likelihood Of Corruption In Prisons And Airports

The ongoing shutdown ― which is leaving some of the nation’s lowest-paid law enforcement officials working without pay ― risks even more corruption within prisons, airports and yes, at the border.

Huffington Post spells out the very real risks of low-level law enforcement employees working without pay:

Federal law enforcement agencies like the Bureau of Prisons, the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have long struggled with integrity issues, from smuggling contraband into prisons and stealing from luggage to taking bribes at the border. Forcing employees of these law enforcement agencies ― which have also struggled with morale issues ― to work without pay could exacerbate corruption problems, some experts told HuffPost. When unpaid law enforcement employees get desperate, some could become compromised.

“As this thing goes on, and as people’s financial situations become more dire, it always increases the risk for corruption,” says John Roth, the former inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, which includes TSA and CBP. “It’s ironic that you’re increasing the risk of corruption at the same time as you’re attempting to fortify the border.”

Roth, who retired in late 2017, told HuffPost he was particularly concerned about border patrol agents going without pay because they often work in isolation and their work gives them a tremendous opportunity to engage in corruption.

Well, duh. Under normal circumstances, the LEOs susceptible to corruption are already corrupt and the other officers stay out of it. But when you're being pressured to show up to work without being paid? That's an entirely different thing. It means you can't drive for Uber or do other short-term work, and it means there's no one home with the kids so your spouse can go to work. (Who can afford daycare during a shutdown?)

And the thing is, once you take money, it's hard to stop -- especially if you're a prison guard. How do you say no later when you're back to work, and the inmate who paid you off can now get you fired if you do? So this doesn't just breed a culture of corruption, it cements it in place.

Nice work, Cheeto!


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