A government shutdown affects Americans differently, but the fact is: all Americans are impacted by the U.S. House and Senate inability to reach an agreement while the shutdown is in their second week.
Several government agencies have been green-lighted to "execute plans for an orderly shutdown," which basically means thousands of people reported to work last week, but unessential employees still had to report to fill out paperwork related to not reporting back to work until the shutdown has been reversed.
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officially administered the shutdown.
Obviously, we all knew public safety officials like federal, state, and local law enforcement would continue to work, but many are working without pay, like the U.S. Capitol Police. So, direct federal agencies are still working; police work and criminal investigations are still active - meaning: the cops are still out, and America is still being protected.
The U.S. courts are still open but no one is clear for exactly how long; and each court room is determining who is essential; while only U.S. Supreme Court justices and other critical federal judges would continue to be paid. The Justice Department has suspended many civil cases.
So that side of the Department of Justice is covered [sorta], but what about a little looked at component that still exists: how will the government shutdown affect America's incarcerated?
First of all, the Federal Bureau of Prison's 116 institutions are still open; Prison Fellowship reports:
The chairman and commissioners of the U.S. Parole Commission will continue responding to requests for emergency warrants and processing parole certificates to preserve thewrit of habeas corpus. The Bureau of Prisons‘ buildings, facilities, and commisionary accounts have enough carryover funds to be able to pay for expenses during a government shutdown such as this. Any hiring or training of new non-essential Department of Justice employees will be postponed, however.
So pretty much everyone will report to work, but prison guards’ paychecks may be delayed. In fact, a Wisconsin-based prison guard union is dealing with the current government shutdown.
The head of the union told a Wisconsin Fox News affiliate his members are concerned about how they're going to pay their bills.
"...just because we’re federal employees, we still live paycheck to paycheck,” Dauman said.
The inmates will continue to be paid though, because their paychecks comes from a different source. And those incarcerated nationwide will still receive their mail, but most experts are unsure of how quickly it will beee sorted and passed out to the inmates.
"This might be a minor thing for some people," mentioned Nancy Hill, a D.C. returning citizen, "but for those who are expecting visitation, its a serious concern - a major headache."
The last shutdowns occurred during the Bill Clinton in late 1995. Much of the federal government was closed for five days in November 1995 (an estimated 800,000 federal workers were furloughed) and then from mid-December 1995 to early January 1996 (just shy of 300,000 were furloughed, with 500,000 who worked without pay).
while other essential staff would not, CRS said. Most federal courts "generally operated with limited disruption" during the 1995-1996 shutdown, it added. Still, thousands of bankruptcy and delinquent child support cases were delayed.
"My bills won't get a break," said returning citizen Chris Austin. And he's right. They more than likely won't be forgiven, but creditors are expected to make arrangements with tens of thousands of people.