Steve Wales, a corrections officer at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Uncasville, Connecticut, is encouraging congress to support a coronavirus aid package for faltering state and municipal governments.

“In Connecticut, 326 correction officers and 417 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19,” he says. “My job is dangerous every day. But COVID-19 has elevated the threat. As fear and anxiety take over, tensions are running high and we are facing a horrifying scene inside of our facility.”

Wales tells of a heightened disregard for regulations, attacks on officers, and attempted escapes on the part of the incarcerated as a result of anxiety around the coronavirus, and fear for the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families on the part of corrections officers. Many officers are out sick or self-quarantining, resulting in dangerously low staffing levels.

“The COVID-19 pandemic shows why it’s crucial to guarantee funding for our state government programs,” he attests, “and that’s why we’re calling on Congress to provide robust funding for state and local governments.”

Read more about how funding for states will help corrections officers sustain a safe working environment for themselves and for the incarcerated here.