People are leaving BOP facilities and Putting Dummies in their Place: BOP Inspector Report

The Office of the Inspector General Indicates that people are Escaping from the BOP and are coming back with Drugs and Booze.

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An Inspector General’s report indicates that federal prisoners are escaping the prison, using subversion tactics such as dummies and other things in order to escape detention and coming back with alcohol and drugs.  

Federal Prison Classifications:

There are several different types of prisons in the federal system.  

  • High Security:  The highest security units with walls or reinforced fences, close control of inmate movement and the highest staff to inmate ratio.  These are also referred to as “United States Penitentiary” or USP.  Atwater or McCreary are examples of high-security USP’s.  
  • Medium Security:  These feature strengthened perimeters, internal controls and “cell-type housing.”  Usually a medium security person is housed in either a “Federal Correctional Institution,” also known as an FCI like El Reno or a USP like Atlanta.  
  • Low Security:  These involve dormitory or cubicle housing and strong work and program components. Seagoville is an example of a low.  
  • Camp: The lowest security prison type.  While there are guards and other security measures, many do not have barbed wire or tall walls like other higher security facilities.  Usually camps are adjacent to other prisons.  Pensacola is an example of this.  

There are other types of prisons that serve particular purposes called Administrative Facilities.  This includes things like the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center, the Metropolitan Detention Centers like Miami or Brooklyn, the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners and the Colorado “Supermax” prison.  Some prisons, like Beaumount, are complexes that have more than one prison type on their grounds.  Usually where an inmate goes is dependent on several things such as the type of crime they were found guilty of, any particularly bad conduct that was in the  Presentence Investigation Report, the distance from a person’s home the prison is, the medical situation of the prisoner and certain specific programming that a prisoner needs.  

Federal Prison “Counts”

Every day in federal prison the facilities stop and count the inmates.  This happens five times a day with three of them happening at night.  The inmates are physically counted to make sure that all are present and accounted for.  Counts happen at night as well; the staff is to use flashlights “judiciously” but verify that they are accounting for humans.  

The Inspector General

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is a statutorily created independent entity whose mission is to promote integrity, efficiency, and accountability within the Department of Justice. The OIG investigates alleged violations of criminal and civil laws by DOJ employees and also audits and inspects DOJ programs. The Inspector General, who is appointed by the President subject to Senate confirmation, reports to the Attorney General and Congress.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) consists of a front office, which is comprised of the Inspector General, the Deputy Inspector General, the Office of the General Counsel, and six major components. Each division is headed by an Assistant Inspector General.

Source:  Office Of the Inspector General Home Page.  The Inspector General is a watch-dog or auditing unit inside the agency.  Virtually every federal agency has such a unit, including the Department of Justice.  They investigate various parts of the agency and make sure that they are performing in accordance with their own preset regulations.  

The easiest way to picture this sort of thing is to visualize the internal affairs department in a police movie. 

The Report

Walter Pavlo and Forbes reported on the DOJ internal affairs report.  The report indicated that  through several investigations, the Inspector General found weaknesses and security concerns that allowed inmates to leave the prison, get contraband and return back to the prison.  

The report found that several doors at the Beaumont Prison Complex were unlocked and unstaffed and that alarms could me manipulated by inmates “even during times when inmates were not permitted to move freely within the SPC, such as during counts and at nighttime.”  

The report, which can also be found here: (Federal Prisons Office Of the Inspector General Report), goes on to mention that at times, dummies were used to prevent guards from accurately determining the amount of inmates that were physically in prison beds:

In addition, we were told that inmates sometimes place dummies in their beds or physically place themselves in other inmate beds during inmate counts. We found that unsecured doors allow inmates to move freely within the SPC even when they were not permitted to do so and, thus, make it easier for them to both pose as other inmates during counts and escape from the SPC. Because BOP policy discourages correctional officers from using excessive light when conducting inmate counts, the inmates may be successful in using these methods to deceive correctional officers into counting them when they are not actually present. We were told that as long as inmates return to their assigned building and bunk before the correctional officers conduct stand-up inmate counts, they can escape the SPC undetected.

The report makes the following recommendations:

  1. The BOP should ensure that alarms on all exterior building doors in FPCs and SPCs are in working condition and should take appropriate measures to prevent them from being susceptible to tampering.

  2. The BOP should ensure that all existing video cameras in FPCs and SPCs are in working condition.

  3. The BOP should install video cameras on all exterior building doors at FPCs and SPCs, so that BOP

    Control Officers can observe the doors while Camp Officers are occupied with performing their duties, such as inmate counts.

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