Semiannual Report to Congress

October 1, 2005-March 31, 2006
Office of the Inspector General

Federal Bureau of Prisons

The BOP operates a nationwide system of prisons and detention facilities to incarcerate those imprisoned for federal crimes and detain those awaiting trial or sentencing in federal court. The BOP has approximately 35,000 employees and operates 113 institutions, 6 regional offices, and 2 staff training centers. The BOP is responsible for the custody and care of approximately 189,000 federal offenders, 161,000 of whom are confined in BOP-operated correctional institutions and detention centers. The remainder are confined in facilities operated by state or local governments or in privately operated facilities.

Reports Issued

The BOP’s Pharmacy Services

The BOP is faced with a significant challenge to provide adequate and cost-effective medical care to inmates. The BOP’s total health care costs for treating inmates increased from approximately $413 million in FY 2000 to approximately $624 million in FY 2004, an average annual increase of close to 11 percent. During that same period, the BOP’s costs for prescription medications and related supplies increased an average of 23 percent annually, from $22.5 million in FY 2000 to $50.7 million in FY 2004.

The OIG’s Audit Division evaluated the BOP’s efforts to reduce the increasing costs of prescription medications, and assessed whether the BOP ensures adequate controls and safeguards over prescription medications. We concluded that the BOP could reduce prescription medication costs associated with waste from unused prescriptions, which totaled an estimated $2.81 million in FY 2004. The BOP also should ensure that cost-savings initiatives, such as requiring inmates to pay for over-the-counter medications, are fully implemented. In addition, we identified errors related to the controlled substances inventory and administration records. For example, the 12 BOP institutions included in our audit could not account for 402 doses of controlled substances that should have been on hand at the time of our review.

Our audit also concluded that the BOP’s plan to implement “Central Fill,” through which the Department of Veterans Affairs will fill certain prescriptions at a central location and mail those prescriptions overnight to BOP institutions, will not result in a savings of $1.14 million per year – as estimated by the BOP – but actually cost the BOP as much as $895,000 more per year.

Our report contained 13 recommendations for the BOP to improve the administration of its Pharmacy Services. The BOP concurred with the recommendations.


During this reporting period, the OIG received 2,552 complaints involving the BOP. The most common allegations made against BOP employees included job performance failure and other official misconduct, use of unnecessary force and other rights violations, and off-duty misconduct. The vast majority of complaints dealt with non-criminal issues that the OIG referred to the BOP’s Office of Internal Affairs.

At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 227 open cases of alleged misconduct against BOP employees. The criminal investigations cover a wide range of allegations, including bribery, introduction of contraband, and sexual abuse of an inmate. The following are examples of cases involving the BOP that the OIG’s Investigations Division investigated during this reporting period:

  • An investigation by the OIG’s Philadelphia Area Office led to the arrest and guilty plea of a BOP senior correctional officer assigned to the Federal Detention Center (FDC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to charges of bribery. The OIG investigation determined that the officer procured cell phones, drugs, and other contraband for several prisoners in exchange for bribe payments in excess of $12,000. The officer was sentenced to 1 year incarceration and 3 years’ supervised release, and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine.

  • An investigation by the OIG’s Washington Field Office led to the arrest of a BOP utility system supervisor assigned to the Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, West Virginia, on charges of sexual abuse of a ward. OIG investigators developed evidence that the utility supervisor had a sexual relationship with an inmate. He was sentenced to 6 months’ incarceration and ordered to pay a $1,000 special assessment to the BOP inmate relief fund and register as a sex offender.

  • An investigation by the OIG’s Houston Area Office led to the arrest of a BOP correctional officer assigned to the U.S. Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana, on charges of bribery, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and providing or possessing contraband. During the investigation, the correctional officer met with an OIG undercover agent and accepted jewelry and approximately 1 pound of marijuana. The correctional officer also accepted a $1,000 monetary bribe to introduce contraband for an inmate at the penitentiary. Judicial proceedings continue.

  • An investigation by the OIG’s Denver Field Office led to the arrest of a BOP teacher, assigned to the Federal Correctional Institution in Florence, Colorado, on charges of sexual abuse of a ward. OIG investigators developed evidence that the teacher was involved in a sexual relationship with an inmate who was the leader of a prison gang. When interviewed, she admitted to having sex with the inmate on 10 occasions. Judicial proceedings continue.

  • A joint investigation by the OIG’s San Francisco Area Office and the FBI’s Honolulu Office led to the arrest of a BOP correctional officer assigned to the FDC in Honolulu, Hawaii, on charges of providing contraband to an inmate. The officer confessed to investigators that on at least four occasions he accepted money to introduce methamphetamine and marijuana into the FDC. Judicial proceedings continue.

  • A joint investigation by the OIG’s Los Angeles Field Office and the FBI led to the arrest of three BOP correctional officers and one former BOP correctional officer, currently employed as an U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent by the DHS, on charges of bribery. The OIG investigation revealed that the correctional officers accepted cash bribes in return for delivering cellular phones and cigarettes to inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, California. Judicial proceedings continue.

Ongoing Work

Controls Over Inmate Mail

Three terrorists convicted of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center allegedly wrote approximately 90 letters while incarcerated in federal prison to Islamic extremists in other countries, including inmates who had been part of a Spanish terror cell tied to the 2004 Madrid terrorism attacks. The letters, which praised Usama Bin Laden, were printed in Arabic newspapers and used to recruit other terrorists. As a result, the OIG is assessing the BOP’s inmate mail screening and translation procedures to determine whether the BOP ensures that federal inmates are not using the mail system or the cover of a foreign language to continue criminal behavior, encourage the furtherance of criminal behavior, or encourage any activity that may threaten the public or national security.

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