|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 36,000 employees and operates 114 institutions, 6 regional offices, and 2 staff training centers. The BOP is responsible for the custody and care of approximately 199,000 federal offenders, 166,600 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.|
During this reporting period, the OIG received 3,144 complaints involving the BOP. The most common allegations made against BOP employees included official misconduct and force, abuse, and rights violations. The vast majority of complaints dealt with non-criminal issues that the OIG referred to the BOP’s Office of Internal Affairs for review.
At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 251 open cases of alleged misconduct against BOP employees. The criminal investigations covered a wide range of allegations, including introduction of contraband, bribery, and sexual abuse. The following are examples of cases involving the BOP that the OIG’s Investigations Division handled during this reporting period:
An investigation by the OIG’s New York Field Office led to the arrest of 11 BOP correctional officers charged with violating the civil rights of 2 inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York. According to the indictment, in November 2002 five correctional officers participated in a planned beating of an inmate and then attempted to disguise the attack by claiming in written reports that the inmate became combative as they attempted to prevent him from committing suicide. According to the indictment, in a second incident in April 2006 five correctional officers, including one who participated in the previously described attack, physically assaulted an inmate in an elevator while escorting him to a special housing unit within the facility. These five correctional officers and two additional officers were charged with writing false reports concerning this incident. The case is being prosecuted by the USAO for the Eastern District of New York. Several of the defendants pled guilty to these offenses, and trials on the remaining defendants are upcoming.
A joint investigation by the OIG’s Chicago Field Office and the FBI led to the conviction of a correctional officer who conspired with relatives of inmates at the U.S. Penitentiary in Big Sandy, Kentucky, to introduce drugs into the facility. The investigation determined that the correctional officer met with inmates’ relatives at a local motel and accepted bribes to bring contraband into the prison. The correctional officer was convicted at trial and sentenced in the Eastern District of Kentucky to 78 months’ incarceration followed by 36 months’ supervised release. One civilian involved in the case also was convicted at trial and sentenced to 21 months’ incarceration followed by 36 months’ supervised release. In addition, two inmates and two other civilians pled guilty and were sentenced. The correctional officer also was terminated from her position.
An investigation by the OIG’s Los Angeles Field Office led to two BOP correctional officers assigned to the Federal Correctional Complex in Lompoc, California, being sentenced on charges of bribery and introduction of contraband. The OIG investigation determined that one of the correctional officers accepted $10,000 in bribes in exchange for smuggling contraband, including tennis shoes, gloves, nutritional supplements, sunglasses, and iPods, into the institution. The second correctional officer met with an undercover agent and accepted 5 ounces of black tar heroin, an iPod, and a $7,500 bribe in exchange for smuggling contraband into the institution. The first correctional officer was sentenced to 18 months’ incarceration followed by 24 months’ supervised release. The second correctional officer was sentenced to 30 months’ incarceration followed by 24 months’ supervised release. Both correctional officers resigned from the BOP as a result of our investigation.
An investigation by the OIG’s Washington Field Office led to the arrest and guilty plea of a BOP Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (UNICOR) general manager, previously assigned to the UNICOR Central Office in Washington, D.C., to a conflict of interest violation. Investigators developed evidence that in early 2004 the UNICOR general manager negotiated a post-government position with a UNICOR vendor with whom he was substantially involved in his capacity as general manager. After accepting an offer of future employment, the UNICOR general manager directed a $250,000 sole source contract to the vendor without disclosing his financial interest in the matter to anyone in the government. The UNICOR general manager retired 3 months later and began working for the vendor, collecting $20,000 in salary over the next 5 months. Sentencing in the Western District of Tennessee is pending.
An investigation by the OIG’s Houston Area Office led to the arrest of a BOP special investigative supervisor technician assigned to the Federal Correctional Institution in Beaumont, Texas, on charges of bribery, smuggling contraband into a federal prison, sexual abuse of a ward, and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. The investigation disclosed that the special investigative supervisor technician engaged in a sexual relationship with an inmate; accepted a $950 monetary bribe for smuggling personal hygiene products, weight lifting supplements, and a cellular telephone into the prison; and stole marijuana from the special investigative supervisor evidence locker and provided it to an inmate. Judicial proceedings continue.
An investigation by the OIG’s Miami Field Office led to the arrest of four BOP correctional officers assigned to the Rivers Correctional Institution, a BOP contract facility located in Winton, North Carolina. The investigation determined that the four correctional officers assaulted an inmate during a dispute regarding a food tray and submitted memoranda to the BOP that contained false information relating to the incident. Sentencing is pending for two of the correctional officers who pled guilty and resigned from their positions. Judicial proceedings continue for the other two correctional officers.
A joint investigation by the OIG’s Tucson Area Office, FBI, and BOP led to the arrest and guilty plea of a BOP electronics technician assigned to the Federal Correctional Institution in Phoenix, Arizona, on a charge of making false statements. The investigation determined that the electronic technician had sexual contact with and provided prohibited items to female inmates who were detained at the Phoenix Federal Prisons Camp. During this investigation, the technician denied both his relationship with the inmates and providing the inmates with soft contraband. The technician resigned from his position as a result of our investigation. Sentencing is pending.
The BOP is required to provide medical, dental, and mental health care to inmates in its custody. However, escalating health care costs have challenged the BOP’s ability to meet the health care needs of an aging inmate population in a cost-effective manner. The OIG is auditing whether the BOP is providing necessary health care services and effectively administering its medical services contracts and monitoring its medical services providers.
The BOP’s Administration of the Witness Security Program
The Witness Security Program provides protection to federal witnesses and their family members. The OIG previously audited the USMS’s and the Criminal Division’s role in the Witness Security Program. Our third audit in this series is assessing the BOP’s role in the Program, including the BOP’s security for Witness Security Program prisoners in its custody.
Review of Health and Safety Issues at BOP Computer Recycling Facilities
The OIG is investigating whether the BOP adequately addressed allegations that workers and inmates at several BOP institutions were exposed to unsafe levels of lead, cadmium, and other hazardous materials in computer recycling plants operated by UNICOR.