In this article, we will break down some of the lies and manipulation that the BOP comes out with. We will be translating various statements by different federal prison ‘officials’ to let you know what they are really saying and pointing out some of the hypocrisy in their own statements.
Michael Carvajal, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), has released an internal notification to address the continuous corruption issues that have plagued the organization. In the announcement, Carvajal said, “I am disheartened that I find it necessary to deliver this message.
I’m deeply saddened by the behavior prompting me to remind you that we ALL have a responsibility to protect staff and inmates by reporting wrongdoing of any kind, especially misconduct, and we must have the courage to do so.”
The Bureau of Prisons has a long history of corruption, staff shortages, and, most recently, delays in implementing The First Step Act, which is one of the most comprehensive criminal justice reforms in recent decades. In addition to bringing in drugs into their own facilities, sexual assaults and intimidation by staff, and multiple cover-ups in response to those allegations.
Federal prisons corruption
According to an article published by the Associated Press, three people died in high-security federal prisons due to inmate-on-inmate violence during the final weeks of 2021. When a fight between two gangs erupted in USP Beaumont in Texas in January 2022, two people were killed, prompting a nationwide lockdown of all federal prisons to prevent further casualties.
Senator Dick Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to replace Director of the Bureau of Prisons Michael Carvajal, claiming that he has failed to appropriately handle the various crises that have troubled the agency. Carvajal announced his retirement in January 2022, and he will continue to serve as a director until a new director is appointed. His second in command is also abandoning ship as well.
An investigation by the Associated Press found that the federal Bureau of Prisons, which has an annual budget of nearly $8 billion, is a hotbed of abuse, graft, and corruption and that the agency had “turned a blind eye” to employees who had been accused of misconduct in late 2021, according to the article.
More recently, a former federal prison chaplain at FCI Dublin pled guilty to having sexual relations with female inmates while working at the prison. After being charged with sexually assaulting one inmate and sexually harassing another, Warden Ray J. Garcia entered a guilty plea four months later. He was also found guilty of storing photographs on his work computer that showed a nude female prisoner in her cell. The United States Senate established a bipartisan committee, led by Senators Jon Ossoff and Mike Braun, to examine the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and recommend improving the agency’s operations.
Federal prison employees dislike doing “anything”, especially their job.
Because of chronic understaffing at the BOP, officers have been forced to work excessive amounts of forced overtime, a practice known as mandates. Most of the time, when this had been done in the past, it just meant that the officer would sit at his desk, feet up for a few extra hours. But because of COVID, they are forced to actually do things, like pass out mail individually, carry food trays to inmates locked in cells, etc. It’s said in the BOP that the worst thing you can do is to make a “cop (correctional staff) do there job”, and it’s apparent they are not liking having to actually work.
All smiles until you make me do something!
Non-officer employees, such as medical staff and counselors, have been assigned to work as correctional officers, a practice known as augmentation. All staff, when they sign on to the BOP, are forced to become correctional officers through the BOP’s certification process. This is why the BOP can “augment” them in the first place.
Augmentation of a Prison officer and MDC Miami employee Eric Speirs, president of AFGE Local 501, has stated that a lack of corrections officers, medical staff, and the expansion of existing staff has resulted in unsafe circumstances in Miami and around the country.
“We work in a dangerous environment when the conditions are the best, so you can imagine how trying it is today with a lack of confidence in leadership, tired staff, and fear of retaliation for speaking up.”Eric Speirs, president of AFGE Local 501
Translation: “We have to work now, which we don’t like. Also, our corruption is being exposed regularly when we are used to getting our way and simply moving an inmate a few hundred miles in horrid conditions to teach them a lesson (aka diesel therapy)”.
The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) may be receiving financial assistance. Following the passage of the FY2022 Omnibus budget bill, the United States Congress appropriated $7,865,000,000 for salaries and expenses of the Federal Prison System (a $200 million increase over the agency’s requested allocation). They definitely don’t need the assistance for COVID as they claim because Unicor was tasked with making the “face masks,” which are just cutouts of cheap cloth that have a string attached to them. These are washed with your regular clothes, with 100 other people’s laundry. Imagine washing your clothes with 100 other people’s boxers, then having to put that on your face.
BOP is expected to hire additional full-time correctional officers, according to an announcement from AFGE National Council President Shane Fausey. “This will reduce the reliance on augmentation and improve staffing beyond mission-critical levels in custodial and all other departments, including medical, counseling, and educational positions,” Fausey said in a press release. Considering many institutions are not offering any of these programs now anyway under the excuse of COVID, what’s the point of hiring more people to sit around?
The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) will also include with its fiscal year 2023 budget submission a detailed report for each Federal correctional facility where two or more Federal inmates have died in a calendar year, detailing each incident and the role augmentation may have played in exacerbating the inherent dangers present at those facilities, according to Fausey. This statement is nonsense.
Put a man in disciplinary conditions for well over a year. Strip him of his ability to see, call, email, or even write his family, all while locked in punitive conditions like the 24/7 “covid lockdowns,” and you expect him not to lash out? Lack of staffing had NOTHING do to with it. Even the director agrees to that much.
Federal prisons lack implementation of the law (FSA)
The First Step Act, which was signed into law in December 2018, has been sluggish to take effect due to COVID-19, which has resulted in delays in the programs available to inmates. The FSA’s main feature was that it allowed qualifying minimum and low-security inmates (they kept it to just a minimum) to earn credits that might be used to get out of prison sooner than they otherwise would have.
This kept many more people in prison than should have been released. They had YEARS to implement this system but instead elected to wait until the last minute to keep as many people inside. The BOP claims it costs $125 per day per inmate. Therein lies their motivation to keep people incarcerated that, under law, deserved to be released.
More BOP Lies
Because of the retroactive nature of the FSA, thousands of federal prisoners across the country were released from halfway houses and home confinement as of January 2022 as a result of the law. At the moment, tens of thousands of prisoners, many of whom believe they have earned credits, are waiting for a backlogged Bureau of Prisons to decide when they will be released. Something unnecessary if they had just done their jobs when the law was passed.
“Case managers who should be working to help prisoners are being taken away from their FSA mission by serving meals or making rounds.”Eric Speirs, president of AFGE Local 501
The First Step Act was passed YEARS ago, though, long BEFORE COVID. This half-hearted attempt at a justification for why they kept thousands of people needlessly incarcerated simply for profit is nothing more than lip service for the BOP.
According to Carvajal’s message, personnel should report misbehavior to top management or other offices such as the Office of Internal Affairs or the Office of the Inspector General, which has been critical of the BOP’s mismanagement on numerous occasions. According to Carvajal, personnel who report inappropriate behavior should be able to do so without fear of punishment. I guess he forgot about the majority of people involved in the federal prison system, the inmates, as he only mentioned staff.
“The Bureau is committed to providing a safe environment for staff and inmates,” the statement reads. Retaliation or harassment toward any staff member or inmate who reported misconduct is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated – and must be reported.” A commitment that fails regardless of the amount of money that is spent trying to “achieve this goal” and regardless of the amount of staff that the BOP has at any given time.
“People are afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation. Like many local union presidents at AFGE, those who do are frequently targeted with minor policy infractions as a means of intimidation,” says Speirs. It’s a constant battle.” Speirs said. One that has people who tell the truth on one side and the staff that is trying to cover it up on the other.
Carvajal’s statement continued by stating that he was concerned about “the recent media attention regarding misconduct in the BOP as being characterized using phrases such as “cover-ups,” “sign of a larger problem,” and “toxic culture of sexual abuse.” These phrases are not true characterizations of the vast majority of the staff who work in our facilities across the Nation.” This statement would be the equivalent of saying that “just because everyone sees a duck, hears a duck, and feeds a duck, it’s not really a duck at all but rather an elephant”.
Furthermore, he does not work with and knows on a personal level the “majority of the staff”, so how does he even know? The answer is he doesn’t. But, he does not like the fact that the truth is coming out about how corrupt and evil the federal prison system is that he runs and has to say something.
Carvajal also mentioned that, since his appointment to the agency’s highest post in January 2020, the same issues had been raised in a Houses Subcommittee on Independent Investigation and Employee Discipline at the Bureau of Prisons report from earlier in the year. The investigation concluded that “discipline and accountability are not equitably applied … For high ranking officers, bad behavior is ignored or covered up on a regular basis, and certain officials who should be investigated can avoid discipline.” Does not look like much has changed.
Despite his pleas that the staff stops being evil, perverted, and corrupt, the machine moves forward. As a convict or inmate, nothing changes no matter what you say or how much you complain. It’s nice to see that the BOP now is getting a taste of its own medicine.