Prison guard Brian Shoemaker was patrolling the halls of Lee penitentiary in southwestern Virginia Friday when an inmate tried to squeeze past him into a restricted area. Seconds after Shoemaker told the prisoner to turn around, the inmate lunged at him, punching him in the shoulder.
Shoemaker did not sustain a major injury. But it did not escape him that he is working without a paycheck at one of the most dangerous federal jobs in America during the partial government shutdown. Fears for his other prison staff members’ safety are escalating as 16-hour shifts become routine as a growing number of guards call in sick in protest or to work side jobs to pay their bills.