The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Monitoring of Mail for High-Risk Inmates

Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2006-009
September 2006
Office of the Inspector General

Scope and Methodology of OIG Review

This review focused on the BOP’s process for reading the mail of terrorist and other high-risk inmates, such as gang leaders, in medium- and high-security and administrative maximum institutions. The review also focused on the BOP’s foreign language translation services, which may be required for monitoring inmate mail, telephone calls, and visits.

Our fieldwork, conducted from June to December 2005, included in-person and telephone interviews, document reviews, site visits to BOP institutions, data analysis, and direct observation of mail and telephone monitoring.


We interviewed 179 officials and staff from the BOP, the FBI, the Criminal Division, and a USAO. Table 1 lists the sites visited or contacted and the officials we interviewed.

Table 1:  Officials Interviewed

Department Component Site Official(s) Interviewed


Central Office


Assistant Director, Correctional Programs Division

Deputy Assistant Director, Correctional Programs Division

Chief, Intelligence Section

Administrator, Correctional Services Branch

Administrator, Inmate Systems Management

Intelligence Officer, Intelligence Section

Legal Staff Member, Office of General Counsel

National Joint Terrorism Task Force Representative (2)


Regional Office(s)

Regional Director (2)

MDC Brooklyn
ADX, USP Florence
MCC New York
FCI Sheridan
FDC Houston
FDC Miami
FDC Oakdale
FDC Philadelphia
FDC SeaTac
MCC San Diego

Warden (10)

Associate Warden (17)

Captain (13)

Special Investigative Agent (10)

SIS Lieutenant (8)

SIS Technician (6)

Intelligence Operations Officer (1)

Phone Monitor (2)

Inmate Systems Manager (7)

Mailroom Staff (6)

Unit Manager (14)

Case Manager (1)

Translator (13)

Union President (8)

Visiting Room Officer (20)

Housing Unit Officer (8)

Tower Officer (2)

Finance Manager (5)



Assistant Director, Counterterrorism Division

Beaumont, TX

Supervisory Resident Agent

Allenwood, PA
Beaumont, TX
Brooklyn, NY
Florence, CO
New York, NY
Sheridan, OR

Special Agent (9)

Department of Justice

Criminal Division

Attorney, Office of Enforcement Operations (2)

Attorney, Counterterrorism Section


Southern District of
New York

Chief, Organized Crime and Counterterrorism

Assistant U.S. Attorney

Data Analysis and Document Reviews

We reviewed data from a week’s mail volume from the BOP institutions we visited. We asked the 10 institutions to record the number of incoming and outgoing letters during the week of November 21-25, 2005. We also analyzed data on the monitoring of inmate telephone calls from the BOP’s INTRUDR system.

We reviewed BOP Program Statements, budget documents, Post Orders, manuals, reports, memorandums, monthly intelligence reports, and SIS record keeping logs. We also reviewed the Department of Justice Strategic Plan for 2003-2008 and Department memorandums and guidance concerning SAMs. Additionally, we reviewed congressional testimony, news articles, and other reports that were related to the monitoring of inmate communications.

Site Visits

We completed 10 site visits to the following BOP institutions:

  • Allenwood, Pennsylvania – the Low Security Correctional Institution (LSCI), Federal Correctional Institution (FCI), and U.S. Penitentiary (USP);
  • Beaumont, Texas – the FCI and USP;
  • Brooklyn, New York – the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC);
  • Florence, Colorado – the ADX and USP;
  • New York, New York – the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC); and
  • Sheridan, Oregon – the FCI.

We selected the institutions based on a variety of factors, choosing institutions in different regions of the country and institutions of various security levels.


At the 10 institutions we visited, we observed the monitoring of inmate mail and telephone calls, as well as monitoring procedures in the visiting rooms and housing units.

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