Employees at a federal prison, including guards, in Forrest City, Ark., are not being paid due to the government shutdown -- but the inmates they watch over are.
The inmates collect paychecks for the work they do inside the prison.
"It just seems wrong on so many levels," Jeff Roberts, federal prison employee and local union president, told WMCTV.
Roberts is one of about 600 employees who go to work at the facility not knowing when they’ll be paid next.
"There's a sense of fear among the employees, they do not want to have to default on a loan or have their credit affected or have a bad name within the community," said Roberts.
The prisoners, however, are still being paid for the various works they do around the prison, including landscaping.
"The inmates who have committed the crimes in this country and are incarcerated by violating the laws of common society, they're not affected by the shutdown, but the employees that we trust to keep our communities safe are," said Roberts.
The inmates are still getting paid because their cash comes from a source not tied to appropriated funds, he said.
"The last thing we need to have is the community have debts that are not being paid, houses not being paid, lights turned off," said Roberts.
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