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DOJ OIG Releases Management Advisory Memorandum of Concerns Regarding the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Policies Pertaining to Special Housing Unit Logs Used to Record Mandatory Rounds and the Retention Period for the Original Logs

Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a Management Advisory Memorandum to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) regarding the BOP’s policies and practices pertaining to the creation and retention of Special Housing Unit (SHU) logs used to document mandatory rounds by correctional officers (CO). 

The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) identified these concerns in connection with an OIG investigation of two COs who allegedly failed to conduct mandatory SHU rounds during or around the time of an assault that resulted in an inmate’s death.  The OIG substantiated allegations that the COs did not conduct multiple mandatory rounds and that the COs falsified the SHU log used to record the mandatory rounds.  The investigation further disclosed that the SHU log used to record the mandatory rounds on the day of the assault was photocopied and placed back into the daily log binder, only for the original to be destroyed as a standard business practice approximately 30 days later.  This failure to maintain original copies complicated potential criminal prosecution of the COs.

The DOJ OIG identified the following concerns:

  • The BOP has neither a standard form for BOP personnel to document mandatory SHU rounds nor baseline standards for the information that must be documented in a SHU round form;
  • The BOP’s practices regarding retention of SHU round logs vary by institution;
  • The BOP’s practice at one or more institutions of destroying such logs within 30 days is inconsistent with its 6-month National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) record retention schedule for SHU round logs;
  • The BOP’s policy documents are silent regarding the retention of such logs; and
  • Even the 6-month document retention schedule may be inadequate to meet the evidentiary needs of criminal investigations and prosecutions. 

The DOJ OIG made four recommendations to the BOP to address the concerns we identified.  The BOP agreed with all four recommendations.

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