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Semiannual Report to Congress

October 1, 2002–March 31, 2003
Office of the Inspector General


The BOP operates a nationwide system of prisons and detention facilities to incarcerate and detain inmates who have been imprisoned for federal crimes or are awaiting trial or sentencing in federal court. The BOP consists of approximately 36,000 employees, 102 institutions, 6 regional offices, 2 staff training centers, and 29 community corrections offices. The BOP is responsible for the custody and care of approximately 163,000 federal offenders, 137,500 of whom are confined in BOP-operated correctional institutions and detention centers. The remainder are confined in detention centers, privately operated prisons, community corrections centers, juvenile facilities, and facilities operated by state or local governments.



In this review, the OIG evaluated whether the BOP has been effective in reducing or eliminating drugs in BOP institutions. We found that drugs are widespread in BOP institutions even though the BOP implements interdiction activities at most entry points in its institutions. Inmates' positive drug tests, misconduct charges, and overdoses show drug use and drug smuggling occur in almost every BOP institution. The OIG identified inmate visitors, staff, and mail as the three primary ways drugs enter BOP institutions. The OIG found that the BOP fails to search visitors adequately and that most of the BOP institutions the OIG visited have insufficient cameras, monitors, and staff to adequately supervise inmate-visiting sessions.

The OIG also determined that the BOP imposes no restrictions on the personal property staff can bring into its institutions, does not search staff or their property when they enter for duty, and does not conduct random drug testing of staff; such activities are common in many state correctional systems. At each BOP institution the OIG visited, staff brought in duffle bags, briefcases, satchels, and large and small coolers. Institution managers, intelligence officers, and correctional officers interviewed by the OIG expressed serious doubt about the effectiveness of the BOP's efforts to eliminate drugs from its institutions when it imposes no control over the property its staff brings inside. In addition, the OIG found that the BOP does not conduct random drug tests of its staff despite having won a federal court case in 1993 to permit such testing and despite a written BOP policy that requires drug testing. The majority of BOP staff interviewed by the OIG supported random drug testing of staff.

The review also examined the BOP's efforts to reduce inmates' demand for drugs. The OIG found that an insufficient number of BOP inmates receive drug treatment, partly because the BOP underestimates and inadequately tracks inmates' treatment needs. The BOP has estimated that 34 percent of all federal inmates need drug treatment. However, the OIG concluded that this figure is outdated and under-represents the number of BOP inmates who need drug treatment. In addition, the OIG concluded that the BOP does not provide adequate nonresidential drug treatment in BOP facilities because of insufficient staffing, lack of policy guidance, and lack of incentives for inmates to seek drug treatment. Even though the BOP states that nonresidential treatment is a major component of its strategy to reduce inmates' demand for drugs, nonresidential treatment was limited or not available at five of the institutions the OIG visited.

The OIG made 15 recommendations to improve the BOP's drug interdiction efforts.


During this reporting period, the OIG received 2,435 complaints involving the BOP. The most common allegations made against BOP employees included job performance failure, official misconduct, off-duty misconduct, use of unnecessary force, and denial of rights. The vast majority of complaints dealt with less serious issues, and the OIG referred these allegations to the BOP Office of Internal Affairs.

At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 216 open cases of alleged misconduct against BOP employees. The criminal investigations cover a wide range of allegations, including introduction of contraband (e.g., drugs), bribery of a public official, and sexual abuse of inmates. The administrative investigations include serious allegations of misconduct, including allegations against high-level employees. Following are some of the cases investigated during this reporting period.



The OIG is auditing the BOP's Inmate Release Preparation and Transitional Reentry Programs to evaluate whether (1) inmate release planning is adequate and continuous from the inmate's initial classification through final release, (2) institutional and unit Release Preparation Programs provide consistent quality of services among facilities, and (3) management and oversight of contract transitional programs at Community Corrections Centers are adequate.