April 1, 2011 – September 30, 2011
Office of the Inspector General
Federal Bureau of Prisons
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 38,000 employees and operates 116 institutions, 6 regional offices, and 2 staff training centers. The BOP is responsible for the custody and care of approximately 217,500 federal offenders, of whom more than 180,300 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’s Hiring Process
The OIG examined how the BOP screens correctional officers when making hiring determinations. The OIG conducted this review in response to the increase in correctional officer misconduct and arrests. The number of misconduct investigations opened by the BOP’s Office of Internal Affairs against correctional officers doubled from FY 2001 to FY 2010, rising from 2,299 to 4,603 (see chart). During that same period, a total of 272 correctional officers were arrested, rising 89 percent from 18 in FY 2001 to 34 in FY 2010. Notably, 58 percent of the correctional officers who had substantiated allegations of misconduct and who received discipline of at least a 1-day suspension between FY 2001 and FY 2009 were disciplined for conduct that occurred within their first 2 years of service with the BOP.
Source: BOP Office of Internal Affairs data
The focus of the OIG’s review was a statistical analysis of the relationship between the misconduct record of recently hired correctional officers and those officers’ background characteristics, such as their record of discipline at previous jobs, education level, and credit history. Although the BOP currently assesses such characteristics individually when deciding whether to hire or make a correctional officer a permanent member of the BOP’s staff, the BOP does not conduct any systematic evaluation of combinations of background characteristics as part of its hiring process.
The OIG’s analysis identified three combinations of background characteristics that have strong relationships with instances of substantiated misconduct resulting in at least a 1-day suspension during the first 2 years after a correctional officer begins work. The OIG’s analysis further indicated that conducting an evaluation of combinations of background characteristics in addition to individual characteristic evaluations could help the BOP reduce the likelihood of hiring correctional officers who will later commit misconduct. The OIG recommended that the BOP consider developing a composite scoring mechanism for assessing the suitability of correctional officer applicants, and the BOP agreed with the recommendation.
During this reporting period, the OIG received 3,698 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 its review.
During this reporting period, the OIG opened 96 investigations and referred 18 allegations to the BOP’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) for action or investigation. At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 181 open cases of alleged misconduct against BOP employees. The criminal investigations covered a wide range of allegations, including official misconduct and force, abuse, and rights violations.
Source: Investigations Data Management System
The following are examples of cases involving the BOP that the OIG’s Investigations Division investigated during this reporting period:
- On September, 1, 2011, a former BOP contractor and her husband were arrested and pled guilty to conspiracy to commit false statements relating to health care matters. The BOP contractor and her husband were operators of a company funded in part by Medicaid and which provided services to persons with developmental disabilities. In pleading guilty, the BOP contractor, who was a licensed psychologist working in the Education Department of a BOP facility in Texas, admitted that she obtained the personally identifiable information of inmates and used this information in a scheme to defraud Medicaid. In total, the BOP contractor and her husband fraudulently obtained $1,820,359 from the Texas Medicaid program. BOP had previously terminated the contract. The investigation was conducted by the OIG’s Dallas Field Office and the Texas State Attorney General’s Office, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
- A BOP correctional officer was arrested and pled guilty to charges of assaulting a federal inmate. In pleading guilty, the correctional officer admitted that the correctional officer assaulted an inmate. The BOP correctional officer was sentenced in the Eastern District of Tennessee to two years’ probation. The BOP correctional officer is no longer employed by the BOP. The investigation was conducted by the OIG’s Chicago Field Office.
- A BOP correctional officer was found guilty by a jury in the Middle District of Florida of sexual abuse of a ward. The evidence showed that the correctional officer engaged in sexual activity with a male inmate while she was on duty. The correctional officer had admitted to the OIG that she maintained a sexual relationship with the inmate and resigned her position with the BOP. As part of her conviction, the correctional officer will be required to register as a sex offender. The investigation was conducted by the OIG’s Miami Field Office.
- A BOP correctional officer was arrested and pled guilty to charges of bribery. The correctional officer provided tobacco and cell phones to inmates in exchange for money. The correctional officer admitted that he received approximately $30,000 to $40,000 in bribe payments in exchange for the contraband. He was sentenced in the Middle District of Florida to 37 months’ incarceration followed by 24 months of supervised release and was fined $24,800. The correctional officer resigned his employment with the BOP. The investigation was conducted by the OIG’s Miami Field Office and the DEA Tampa District Office.
- A BOP food services technician was arrested and pled guilty to charges of attempting to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. The food services technician admitted that he had smuggled contraband materials into the facility. The food services technician was sentenced in the Eastern District of North Carolina to 76 months’ imprisonment followed by 4 years of supervised release.
Residential Re-entry Centers Contracting and Management
The OIG is conducting an audit to evaluate the BOP’s management of residential re-entry centers (RRCs). RRCs, also referred to as halfway houses, provide a structured, supervised environment as well as employment counseling, job placement, financial management assistance, and other programs and services to help inmates gradually rebuild their ties to the community. RRCs also facilitate supervising ex‑offenders' activities during this readjustment phase. The audit objectives are to determine whether RRC operations are conducted in compliance with BOP requirements and if the BOP effectively administers and monitors its RRC contracts. The OIG is also reviewing whether the BOP administers its RRC contracts in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies.