The labor union that represents deputy U.S. marshals assigned to D.C. Superior Court has filed a complaint with their employer, charging that court security is poor as a result of a shortage of deputies manning the court's cellblock and its courtrooms.
A female deputy is responsible for the security of eight prisoners at one time and another marshall occassionally has as many as 15 prisoners under his supervision at a time, according to a two-page memorandum signed by Deputy Marshal Andrew M. Orgenge, health and safety representative of Local 2272 of the American Federation of Government Employees.
The Memo, addressed to Florastine P. Graham, administrator of the U.S. Marshal Service's safety and health program, called for an immediate investigation. It was filed 10 days ago.
The District's U.S. marshal, J. Jerome Bullock, said that he was not aware of a security problem, as outlined in the memo. Bullock said the 17 full-time and part-time deputies assigned to superior Court were doing "a fine job."
In a recent letter to all Superior Court judges, Orenge contended that security problems in Superior Court are similar to those that led to a four-day takeover the the cellblock at U.S. District Court in 1974.
"It is not uncommon [in Superior Court] to find one deputy opening a door to a cell containing 20 to 50 prisoners," Orenge wrote to the judges. "Nor is it presently uncommon to find one deputy responsible for the control and custody of 80 or more prisoners."