Fort Worth

Prison Guard Thankful Shutdown is Over — But Says the Relief is Temporary

It's been 35 days of financial insecurity for 800,000 furloughed workers living paycheck to paycheck.

Like many, Chris Beasley can now take a breath.

“It happened so quick, I was immediately relieved, ecstatic,” Beasley said, after hearing President Trump announce that the government will reopen.

But that relief is temporary.

“And then you know it just kinda set in there that, 'wait a second, this is only for three weeks and I didn't get paid today,” he said.

For nearly 20 years, Beasley has been working as a corrections officer at a Fort Worth prison for women with medical and mental health issues. He said it was short staffed before the shutdown and he was already putting in extra hours. Recently, he's had to do it without pay.

“And then I had to withdraw money from my savings for the first time and after that I became depressed,” Beasley said.

We first spoke to Beasley after he posted a sign to social media saying "will work for food." Since then, his family has had to cut back. That’s meant no going out to eat, no vaccinations for his dog and telling his 10-year-old she had to stop gymnastics. His wife even started baking and selling cakes to make ends meet.

“On my days off, I found extra work wherever I could, sharpening chainsaw blades, raking leaves,” he said. “I didn't have a chance to relax and then I went straight back to work stressed out.”

Beasley is only one of the 33,000 federal corrections officers waiting for a permanent fix.

“We're excited that it's opening, but then we've got three weeks. It's just like an emotional roller coaster for us,” he said.

It’s a ride he’d like to see end.

Beasley said one silver lining, though, has been the outpouring of support he's seen from the DFW community. From those offering food, to the company that fixed his leaky roof for free. He said he’s incredibly grateful.

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