The federal Bureau of Prisons is having a hard time housing inmates convicted of criminal behavior without engaging in some criminal behavior of their own. According to a report from the Associated Press, over 100 federal prison workers have been arrested, convicted, or sentenced for crimes since 2019 — far more than staffers in other branches of the Justice Department.
Many of the cases involve rote corruption, smuggling, and property theft, but the list also includes a warden in California who was indicted for sexual abuse and an associate warden at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn who has been charged with murder. The bureau has also been willing to overlook abuses, such as the official at a prison in Mississippi who was allowed to keep his role investigating misconduct after he was arrested for stalking and harassing his coworkers. A fifth of cases dealt with crimes involving sex, including a correctional officer in a prison medical center in Kentucky charged with threatening to kill inmates if they did not submit to sexual acts.
The report comes amid a long series of problems at the BOP, from the inability to protect wards from the coronavirus to severe staffing shortages and the failure to keep Jeffrey Epstein alive. According to an AP report from June, Biden administration officials were considering getting rid of the agency’s director, Michael Carvajal, who took over the nation’s prisons the month before COVID hit the U.S. in full force — a pandemic that has killed 266 federal inmates.