Semiannual Report to Congress
October 1, 2005-March 31, 2006
Office of the Inspector General
The BOP operates a nationwide system of prisons and detention facilities to incarcerate those imprisoned for federal crimes and detain those awaiting trial or sentencing in federal court. The BOP has approximately 35,000 employees and operates 113 institutions, 6 regional offices, and 2 staff training centers. The BOP is responsible for the custody and care of approximately 189,000 federal offenders, 161,000 of whom are confined in BOP-operated correctional institutions and detention centers. The remainder are confined in facilities operated by state or local governments or in privately operated facilities.
The BOP is faced with a significant challenge to provide adequate and cost-effective medical care to inmates. The BOP’s total health care costs for treating inmates increased from approximately $413 million in FY 2000 to approximately $624 million in FY 2004, an average annual increase of close to 11 percent. During that same period, the BOP’s costs for prescription medications and related supplies increased an average of 23 percent annually, from $22.5 million in FY 2000 to $50.7 million in FY 2004.
The OIG’s Audit Division evaluated the BOP’s efforts to reduce the increasing costs of prescription medications, and assessed whether the BOP ensures adequate controls and safeguards over prescription medications. We concluded that the BOP could reduce prescription medication costs associated with waste from unused prescriptions, which totaled an estimated $2.81 million in FY 2004. The BOP also should ensure that cost-savings initiatives, such as requiring inmates to pay for over-the-counter medications, are fully implemented. In addition, we identified errors related to the controlled substances inventory and administration records. For example, the 12 BOP institutions included in our audit could not account for 402 doses of controlled substances that should have been on hand at the time of our review.
Our audit also concluded that the BOP’s plan to implement “Central Fill,” through which the Department of Veterans Affairs will fill certain prescriptions at a central location and mail those prescriptions overnight to BOP institutions, will not result in a savings of $1.14 million per year – as estimated by the BOP – but actually cost the BOP as much as $895,000 more per year.
Our report contained 13 recommendations for the BOP to improve the administration of its Pharmacy Services. The BOP concurred with the recommendations.
During this reporting period, the OIG received 2,552 complaints involving the BOP. The most common allegations made against BOP employees included job performance failure and other official misconduct, use of unnecessary force and other rights violations, and off-duty misconduct. The vast majority of complaints dealt with non-criminal issues that the OIG referred to the BOP’s Office of Internal Affairs.
At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 227 open cases of alleged misconduct against BOP employees. The criminal investigations cover a wide range of allegations, including bribery, introduction of contraband, and sexual abuse of an inmate. The following are examples of cases involving the BOP that the OIG’s Investigations Division investigated during this reporting period:
Three terrorists convicted of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center allegedly wrote approximately 90 letters while incarcerated in federal prison to Islamic extremists in other countries, including inmates who had been part of a Spanish terror cell tied to the 2004 Madrid terrorism attacks. The letters, which praised Usama Bin Laden, were printed in Arabic newspapers and used to recruit other terrorists. As a result, the OIG is assessing the BOP’s inmate mail screening and translation procedures to determine whether the BOP ensures that federal inmates are not using the mail system or the cover of a foreign language to continue criminal behavior, encourage the furtherance of criminal behavior, or encourage any activity that may threaten the public or national security.