Semiannual Report to Congress
October 1, 2006-March 31, 2007
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 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 192,000 federal offenders, 162,000 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.|
During this reporting period, the OIG received 2,765 complaints involving the BOP. The most common allegations made against BOP employees included job performance failure and other 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 254 open cases of alleged misconduct against BOP employees. The criminal investigations cover a wide range of allegations, including introduction of contraband into BOP facilities, 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 September 2006 Semiannual Report to Congress we reported on a case in which a joint investigation by the OIG’s Miami Field Office and the FBI led to the indictment of six BOP correctional officers assigned to the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Tallahassee, Florida, on charges of conspiracy to sexually abuse female inmates and introduction of contraband. The investigation determined that the correctional officers were involved in a scheme to provide contraband to the female inmates in exchange for sexual favors and money. In a joint operation to arrest the defendants, one of the indicted correctional officers began firing. He hit and killed OIG Special Agent William “Buddy” Sentner III. However, before he died, Special Agent Sentner courageously returned fire, killing the correctional officer before he could shoot others.
During this reporting period, two of the six correctional officers were sentenced; the first received 12 months’ incarceration followed by 3 years’ supervised release, and the second received probation. Two other correctional officers were convicted at trial on charges of bribery and witness tampering. One was sentenced to 12 months’ incarceration and 3 years’ supervised release and fined $6,000, while the other was sentenced to 12 months’ incarceration and 3 years’ supervised release and fined $3,000. The fifth correctional officer pled guilty to conspiracy charges and was sentenced to 36 months’ probation and 12 months’ home confinement. The sixth correctional officer was the one killed in the exchange of gunfire that he initiated.
A joint investigation by the OIG’s San Francisco Area Office and the DEA resulted in the arrest, conviction, and sentencing of a BOP correctional officer assigned to the U.S. Penitentiary in Atwater, California. During an undercover operation, the correctional officer accepted 5 ounces of black tar heroin and a $5,000 bribe to smuggle the heroin into the penitentiary. He was sentenced to 37 months’ incarceration and 36 months’ supervised release pursuant to his guilty plea to a charge of possession of heroin with intent to distribute.
An investigation by the OIG’s New York Field Office developed evidence that a BOP laundry foreman accepted $6,200 in cash to smuggle cellular phones and controlled substances into the FCI in Fort Dix, New Jersey. The laundry foreman was sentenced to 30 months’ incarceration and 36 months’ supervised release for accepting bribes to introduce contraband into the prison.
An investigation by the OIG’s Dallas Field Office led to the arrest of a BOP inmate housed at the Dismas Charities Community Corrections Center in Midland, Texas. The inmate was indicted for making a false statement to a government agency. The investigation determined that the inmate falsely claimed to the OIG that she was sexually assaulted by a male resident monitor at the corrections center. When confronted by OIG investigators, the inmate admitted she was not sexually assaulted. The resident monitor was exonerated.
An investigation by the OIG’s Atlanta Area Office led to the arrest and guilty plea of two BOP contract correctional officers assigned to the Rivers Correctional Institution (RCI) in Winton, North Carolina, for falsifying an official report to influence a federal investigation. The OIG investigation developed evidence that the correctional officers conspired with an RCI inmate to plant a knife in the property of another inmate whom the correctional officers thought was spreading rumors about the correctional officers’ sexual relations with two inmates. As a result, the second inmate’s parole release date was delayed 9 months. The correctional officer who planted the knife and falsely claimed to have found the knife during a subsequent search of the inmate’s cell also falsified a BOP Incident Report describing the seizure, which the U.S. Parole Commission relied upon to delay the inmate’s parole date. Sentencing is pending for both correctional officers.
An investigation by the OIG’s Dallas Field Office led to the arrest and guilty plea of a BOP inmate systems manager assigned to the Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas, on charges of sexual abuse of a ward, abusive sexual contact with a ward, and providing false statements. The investigation identified five female inmates with whom the inmate systems manager sexually abused while working at the prison camp. The inmate systems manager resigned from his position as a result of this investigation. Sentencing is pending.
The BOP’s Efforts to Manage Inmate Health Care
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. The OIG is auditing whether the BOP is providing necessary health care services, effectively administering its medical services contracts, and effectively monitoring its medical services providers.
The BOP’s Administration of the Witness Security Program
The Witness Security Program (WITSEC) provides protection to federal witnesses and their family members. The OIG previously audited the USMS’s and the Criminal Division’s role in the WITSEC program. Our third audit in this series is assessing the BOP’s role in the WITSEC program, including the BOP’s security for WITSEC prisoners in its custody.
Review of Health and Safety Issues at BOP Computer Recycling Facilities
The OIG is investigating allegations that the BOP failed to adequately address 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 Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (UNICOR). The OIG initiated this investigation after the Office of Special Counsel concluded that an earlier investigation by the BOP failed to adequately address allegations by a BOP safety manager that UNICOR’s computer recycling operations were unsafe.
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