Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of an inspection of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Tallahassee, a women’s prison in Florida with an adjacent male detention center. The onsite inspection, which occurred May 22–26, 2023, was the second unannounced inspection under the DOJ Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) new BOP inspections program.
The DOJ OIG inspection identified several serious operational deficiencies at FCI Tallahassee. Among the most concerning were the alarming conditions of its food service and storage operations. Our findings include:
- Serious Issues with FCI Tallahassee’s Food Service Department Affect the Conditions of Inmate Confinement. We observed moldy bread being served as well as discolored and rotting vegetables in a food preparation refrigerator at the female prison. In the food storage warehouses, we found likely evidence of rodent droppings, as well as bags of cereal with insects in them and warped food containers.
- Significant Facility Issues Affect the Conditions of Inmate Confinement. We found that female housing unit roofs routinely leak and that all five general population housing unit roofs need to be replaced. Many female inmates live in housing units in which water frequently leaks from ceilings and windows on or near their living spaces. Additionally, we observed worn bedding, rusted inmate storage lockers, issues with showers and toilets, and black substances on walls and ceilings.
- Operational Deficiencies in Core Inmate Management and Security Functions Affect the Overall Safety and Security of the Institution. We identified serious issues affecting inmate safety, including Correctional Officer shortages; a lack of supervisory oversight at the male detention center; and operational deficiencies, such as weaknesses with inmate search procedures and limited security camera coverage, in core inmate management and security functions. Staff and inmates told us that staff do not always enforce rules consistently, and inmates believed that certain staff took retaliatory measures against them. Additionally, inmates reported that some Correctional Officers use offensive language when speaking with them.
- Health Services Department Staff Shortages Negatively Affect Healthcare Treatment. We found that staff shortages have negatively affected healthcare treatment and caused staff to modify the time of day it distributes insulin and drugs to female inmates, which may limit the therapeutic benefit of these drugs for certain inmates. Separately, we observed a healthcare provider failing to ask required questions during inmate intake screenings and omitting guidance on how to access healthcare services.
Most of the significant issues we found at FCI Tallahassee were consistent with findings the OIG has made in other recent BOP oversight work, which we have reported on publicly. We did not make recommendations in this report because in our prior work we have recommended that the BOP address many of these issues at an enterprise level. In monitoring the BOP’s efforts to address those recommendations at all of its institutions, we will track the actions the BOP takes at FCI Tallahassee.