Semiannual Report to Congress

October 1, 2007-March 31, 2008
Office of the Inspector General

Federal Bureau of Prisons
BOP logo The BOP operates a nationwide system of prisons and detention facilities to incarcerate individuals imprisoned for federal crimes and detain those awaiting trial or sentencing in federal court. The BOP has approximately 36,000 employees and operates 114 institutions, 6 regional offices, and 2 staff training centers. The BOP is responsible for the custody and care of approximately 201,000 federal offenders, 166,100 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 Efforts to Manage Inmate Health Care Costs

The BOP is responsible for delivering health care to federal inmates in its 114 institutions. From FYs 2000 through 2007, the BOP spent about $4.7 billion for inmate health care. In our review of the growth of inmate health care costs over the past 7 years, we found that the BOP has kept this growth at a reasonable level compared to national health care cost data reported by the Departments of Health and Human Services and Labor. The BOP has implemented cost containment strategies over the past several years to provide health care in a more effective and efficient manner. However, it generally does not maintain analytical data to assess the impact that individual initiatives have had on health care costs.

Our review also found that, with respect to inmate health care, BOP institutions did not always provide recommended preventive medical services to inmates. In addition, our audit determined that BOP institutions did not consistently provide inmates with the medical services recommended by BOP guidelines, which could lead to exacerbation of inmate medical conditions, higher costs for health care, medical-related complaints and lawsuits from inmates, and BOP liability for lack of adequate medical care.

In addition, we found that the BOP allowed some health care providers to practice medicine without valid authorizations, which increases the risk that they may provide medical services without having the qualifications, knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to correctly perform the services. We also calculated that 48 percent of BOP health care providers did not have their practices peer-reviewed to ensure the quality of their medical care, as required by BOP policy.

Prior OIG audits of BOP medical contracts identified contract-administration deficiencies in the BOP’s review of health care costs, such as inadequate review and verification of contractor invoices and inadequate supporting documentation for billings. Subsequent to these audits, the BOP took action to address individual deficiencies at the institutions audited. However, our current audit found that other BOP institutions still lacked appropriate controls in these areas, which indicates the existence of systemic weaknesses that are not being addressed by the BOP.

The BOP monitors its health care providers by performing program reviews of institution operations, reviewing medical provider skills and qualifications, and providing authorization documents based on the review results. Institutions also are required to accumulate and submit data on health-related performance measures to BOP headquarters. We determined that the BOP’s methods to accumulate and report health-related performance measures were inconsistent, and that the data was not analyzed to evaluate the performance of BOP institutions. While the BOP has corrected deficiencies at the specific institutions where its program reviews found weaknesses, it did not develop and issue guidance to correct systemic deficiencies found during the reviews.

The OIG made 11 recommendations regarding the provision of inmate health care, and the BOP agreed with all of the recommendations.


During this reporting period, the OIG received 2,680 complaints involving the BOP. The most common allegations made against BOP employees included official misconduct and force, abuse, and rights violations. The vast majority of complaints dealt with non-criminal issues that the OIG referred to the BOP’s Office of Internal Affairs for review.

At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 249 open cases of alleged misconduct against BOP employees. The criminal investigations covered a wide range of allegations, including bribery, introduction of contraband, and sexual abuse. The following are examples of cases involving the BOP that the OIG’s Investigations Division handled during this reporting period:

Ongoing Work

The BOP’s Administration of the Witness Security Program

The Witness Security Program (WITSEC) provides protection to federal witnesses and their family members. The OIG previously examined the USMS’s and the Criminal Division’s roles in the WITSEC program. Our third audit in this series is assessing the BOP’s role in WITSEC, including the BOP’s security for WITSEC prisoners in its custody.

Review of Health and Safety Issues at BOP Computer Recycling Facilities

The OIG is investigating whether the BOP adequately addressed allegations that workers and inmates at several BOP institutions were exposed to unsafe levels of lead, cadmium, and other hazardous materials in computer recycling plants operated by UNICOR.

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