|The BOP operates a nationwide system of prisons and detention facilities to incarcerate individuals imprisoned for federal crimes and detain those awaiting trial or sentencing in federal court. The BOP has approximately 36,362 employees and operates 115 institutions, 6 regional offices, and 2 staff training centers. The BOP is responsible for the custody and care of approximately 209,027 federal offenders, 172,516 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 2,812 complaints involving the BOP. The most common allegations made against BOP employees included job performance failure; force, abuse, and rights violations; and security and custody failure. The vast majority of complaints dealt with non-criminal issues that the OIG referred to the BOP’s Office of Internal Affairs for its review and any appropriate action.
At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 185 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:
- In our March 2009 Semiannual Report to Congress, we reported on a joint investigation by the OIG’s New York Field Office and the FBI that resulted in the 15-year incarceration of a former BOP correctional officer for sexual abuse of a female ward and plotting with the female inmate to murder his wife. Shortly after beginning his sentence, the former correctional officer solicited assistance from inmates to murder his wife. This time, he also sought the murder of his wife’s current boyfriend, the female inmate from the previous investigation, and the OIG Special Agent who investigated the original case. In an investigation by the OIG’s Miami Field Office, the former correctional officer provided an OIG undercover agent with physical descriptions of each victim, their geographical locations, specific instructions as to what he wanted done, and an initial payment for the murders from his BOP inmate account. A criminal complaint has been filed against the correctional officer alleging that he used interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder for hire and that he attempted to retaliate against a witness, victim, or informant.
- Investigations by the OIG’s Dallas Field Office resulted in the arrest of eight correctional officers assigned to the Reeves County Detention Center, a BOP contract facility located in Pecos, Texas, on charges of bribery of a public official. OIG investigators determined that the correctional officers accepted multiple monetary bribes in exchange for smuggling contraband, including cell phones, MP3 players, tobacco, and marijuana, into the Detention Center for inmates. Five of the eight correctional officers were convicted and received sentences ranging from 24 to 46 months’ incarceration. Judicial proceedings continue for the three remaining correctional officers.
- The OIG’s Chicago Field Office and the FBI conducted a joint investigation into the death of an inmate at the U.S. Penitentiary Big Sandy in Inez, Kentucky, and whether BOP correctional officers assisted or arranged for the inmate to be killed by other inmates. The OIG investigation determined that two inmates beat and suffocated another inmate to death, then tampered with the physical evidence, but no correctional officers assisted in the murder. However, the investigation substantiated administrative misconduct by 12 correctional officers, which included mishandling evidence, failing to handcuff an inmate during a movement, and failing to conduct timely rounds. Administrative action against the officers is pending. The two inmates involved were arrested in the Eastern District of Kentucky on charges of murder, conspiracy, and evidence tampering. Judicial proceedings continue for the inmates.
- A joint investigation by the OIG’s Miami Field Office and the Department of Labor OIG led to the arrest of a BOP correctional officer in the Southern District of Mississippi on charges of theft of government funds and making false statements. The investigation determined that the correctional officer filed an application for worker’s compensation for a work-related injury that occurred at the Federal Correctional Complex in Yazoo, Mississippi. Between August 2007 and August 2008, the correctional officer received more than $11,000 in compensation for travel vouchers he submitted, claiming that he took 79 trips to a hospital located 150 miles from his home. However, investigators found that the correctional officer did not take any of the trips. Judicial proceedings continue.
- Investigations by the OIG’s Chicago Field Office resulted in the arrests of a BOP nurse and two nursing assistants in the District of Minnesota on charges of sexual abuse of a ward. OIG investigators determined that the nurse and nursing assistants each had ongoing sexual relationships with an inmate under their custodial supervision and control. One of the nursing assistants and the nurse pled guilty to sexual abuse of a ward and each were sentenced to 3 years’ probation and ordered to perform 40 and 60 hours of community service, respectively. The second nursing assistant pled guilty to making a false entry in an official document denying the sexual relationship. She was sentenced to 3 years’ probation and ordered to perform 60 hours of community service. All three resigned from the BOP as a result of the OIG investigation.
- An investigation by the OIG’s Houston Area Office led to the arrest of a BOP correctional officer in the Western District of Louisiana on bribery charges following an OIG undercover operation in which the correctional officer accepted a $26,000 bribe, 7 ounces of cocaine, and a handgun and ammunition from an undercover officer posing as an associate of a cooperating inmate. OIG investigators determined that the correctional officer had been smuggling contraband, including a cellular telephone, marijuana, tobacco, and prescription medications, into the U.S. Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana, for the previous 6 months in exchange for approximately $20,000 in bribes. The correctional officer resigned from the BOP following his arrest. Judicial proceedings continue.
- An investigation by the OIG’s Washington Field Office resulted in the arrest and guilty plea of a BOP correctional officer on a charge of bribery. The investigation revealed that the correctional officer received monetary bribes from inmates housed at the U.S. Penitentiary in Hazelton, West Virginia, and their family members in exchange for heroin, marijuana, and soft contraband, including cellular telephones and tobacco products. The correctional officer was sentenced to 30 months’ incarceration followed by 24 months’ supervised release.
- A joint investigation by the OIG’s Atlanta Area Office and the FBI led to the arrest and guilty plea of a BOP account technician at the Federal Prison Camp in Pensacola, Florida, on charges of theft of government funds and falsifying records. The investigation found that the account technician stole approximately $9,000 from the BOP’s inmate trust fund and falsified records in an attempt to conceal her criminal activity. She was sentenced to 5 years’ probation and ordered to pay $9,263 in restitution.
- An investigation by the OIG’s Atlanta Area Office resulted in the arrest of a BOP recreational specialist at the Federal Correctional Institution in Estill, South Carolina, on charges of introduction of contraband, making false statements to the OIG, and making false declarations before the grand jury. OIG investigators found that the recreational specialist received approximately $7,500 in bribe payments from family and associates of inmates in return for providing tobacco and pornographic materials to inmates. Judicial proceedings continue.
- An investigation by the OIG’s Chicago Field Office led to the arrest of a BOP correctional officer in the Eastern District of Kentucky on charges of embezzling property. OIG investigators determined that the correctional officer kept his government travel credit card following his resignation from the BOP and withdrew cash advances totaling over $4,500 without authorization or repayment. Judicial proceedings continue.
The BOP’s Furlough Program
The OIG is examining whether the BOP follows existing policies when granting furloughs to federal inmates. We are also assessing whether there are adequate safeguards in place to monitor furloughed inmates and how the BOP coordinates with other law enforcement agencies when an inmate escapes during an unescorted transfer or while on furlough.
Review of the BOP’s Hiring Process
The OIG is reviewing strategies and procedures the BOP uses when hiring correctional officers.
We are evaluating the BOP’s recruiting, applicant screening, interviewing, and training for correctional officers to assess whether the BOP’s hiring process identifies suitable applicants for these positions.