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January 6, 2023: COMPASSIONATE RELEASE, COVID-19, and BOP BLOG


Fast Facts (Full BOP stats can be found here)


Confirmed active cases at 83 BOP facilities and 13 RRCs

Currently positive-testing inmates: 179 (down from 198) Currently positive-testing staff: 253 (up from 248) Recovered inmates currently in the BOP: 47,120 (down from 47,153) Recovered staff: 14,777 (up from 14,768)


Institutions with the largest number of currently positive-testing inmates:

Loretto FCI:11

Yazoo City Medium FCI: 10

Danbury FCI: 9 (unchanged)


Institutions with the largest number of currently positive-testing staff:

Central Office HQ: 60 (unchanged)

Rochester FMC: 16 (up from 15)

Lexington MFC: 13


System-wide testing results: Presently, BOP has 145,277 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,881 in community-based facilities. Today's stats: Completed tests: 128,667 (unchanged) Positive tests: 55,315 (unchanged)


Total vaccine doses administered: 344,419 (unchanged)


News Note: Suggested New Years resolutions for BOP Director Collette Peters...


Thomas L. Root, writing for the Lisa Foundation in an article titled BOP’S GOT NOWHERE TO GO BUT UP, provides five solid suggestions for BOP Director Collette Peters, as she approaches the half-year point of her tenure. Observing, "Last year, the Partnership for Public Service‘s 2021 rankings of the best places to work in the federal government ranked the BOP in 431st place" out of 432 agencies, he suggests:


1) Change the Culture: The BOP has nowhere to go but up. Last year, the Partnership for Public Service‘s 2021 rankings of the best places to work in the federal government ranked the BOP in 431st place. This was out of 432 agencies. The BOP ranked dead last in 8 of 15 categories, including “effective leadership,” “innovation” and “teamwork.”


(2) Hire people: Walter Pavlo observed last week that “hiring new staff in this environment is difficult.” National Council of Prison Locals president Shane Fousey called it, “a staffing crisis of epic proportions.” Staffing issues lead to inconsistent and nonexistent programming, poor healthcare, loss of opportunities for sentence credit and community confinement, and institutional safety issues.

Of course, you cannot hire the people you need to work at an agency that is feeding at the bottom of the federal employment hierarchy. No leadership, no teamwork, no innovation… no employees.

Just last week, Pavlo wrote that an FCI Miami inmate died choking on his own blood while in a COVID quarantine. His cellmate (apparently, quarantine was in the SHU), pounded and screamed for help for 90 minutes before a CO – who was responsible for multiple housing units, came along for count. Kareen Troitino, the local CO union president, said of the incident, “As a cost savings initiative, the Agency is jeopardizing lives by forcing one officer to supervise two units. This loss of life would have never happened if we had one officer in each building as we had in the past.”


(3) Clean Up Internal Investigations: Last month, the Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations found that BOP employees had abused female prisoners in at least 19 of the 29 federal facilities over the past decade. In June 2021, the Dept of Justice revealed that as of 2018, inmates reported 27,826 allegations of sexual victimization, or a 15% increase from 2015. Of the 27,826 allegations, over half were staff-on-inmate sexual abuse. The BOP has over 8,000 internal affairs misconduct allegations that haven’t been investigated.

The misconduct ranges from BOP leaks and lies that placed Whitey Bulger in general population at USP Hazelton (where he survived for under 12 hours) to ”corruption at the US Penitentiary Atlanta in Georgia to the Dept of Justice’s failure to count almost 1,000 deaths in custody across the country, to abusive and unnecessary gynecological procedures performed on women in Dept of Homeland Security custody,” according to Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA).


(4) Use the Tools Congress Gave You: Stephen Sady, Chief Deputy Federal Public Defender for the District of Oregon, recently wrote in the Federal Sentencing Reporter that the Sentencing Commission should fulfill its statutory obligation to make recommendations regarding correctional resources and programs. He told Walter Pavlo that “the BOP has failed to adequately implement critical legislation to improve the conditions of people in prison” and since the BOP hasn’t acted, the Sentencing Commission should.

The BOP could address staff shortages and morale problems by getting more people to home confinement, halfway house and early release with the need for USSC oversight, Pavlo also suggests the BOP could expand eligibility and availability of RDAP sentence reductions, “eliminate computation rules that create longer sentences… Implement broader statutory and guideline standards to file compassionate release motions any time extraordinary and compelling reasons exist… [and f]ully implement the First Step Act’s earned time credit program.’ Pavlo notes that “[n]o new legislation would be required for any of these reforms.”


(5) Practice Openness: There’s an old admonition about not picking a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. It’s not so much ink these days, but a blemish on Peters’s honeymoon as director is the BOP’s continued awkward of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram’s questions about allegations of systemic abuse at the women’s FMC Carswell.

Although the Star-Telegram rated its reports of Carswell mismanagement and misconduct as one of its most important stories in 2022, the newspaper complained again this week that BOP “administrators have declined interview requests, given blanket statements in answer to questions and failed to provide detailed plans about how the Bureau of Prisons intends to address the problems.”


Death Watch (Note: The BOP press website announces BOP COVID-related deaths here.) No new deaths within the BOP have been announced, leaving the reported inmate death toll at 309. Eleven of the inmates died while on home confinement. Staff deaths remain at 7.

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