Washington (AP) — 29 prisoners have fled the US federal blockade in the last 18 months — and nearly half have not yet been captured. At some facilities, doors remain unlocked, security cameras are broken, and personnel may not be aware that prisoners have been missing for hours.
In one Texas lockup, security is so loose that local law enforcement officers are personally joking about the seemingly “open door policy.”
Prisoners broke out in lockups in almost every part of the country. There are still a large number of 12 prisoners who escaped from prisons in Florida, California, Louisiana, Texas, and Colorado in 2020. The other two who fled after January this year have not yet been captured. Their crimes include extortion, wire fraud, bank robbery, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of the intention to distribute methamphetamine and other drugs.
All escapes occurred in a federal prison camp with minimal security. Some do not even have fences, and some inmates are considered by the prison office to have the lowest security risk.
Jack Donson, a prison consultant and former case manager for a federal prison in Otisville, New York, said: “They are not safe facilities. They have no fences or metal detectors.”
This figure raises serious concerns that authorities, long besieged by chronic mismanagement, fraud and serious staffing crises, are failing to perform the most basic function of keeping prisoners in prison. ing. A Justice Ministry budget report submitted to Congress stated that the prison bureau had not escaped from safe facilities, but it does not count those who have escaped from minimum security prisons or camps.
Federal authorities often call them “walkaways,” but it’s still an escape from federal prisons under the law, and law enforcement officials risk the community when prisoners escape. Say there are more.
Federal prison camps were originally secure to facilitate operation and prevent prisoners tasked with landscaping, maintenance, and other prison operations from repeatedly checking in and out of major prison facilities. It was designed to be low. However, loose security is now not only the opening of contraband gateways, but also the source of most of the prison system escapes.
Aside from Texas fugitives, law enforcement officials also routinely know that prison prisoners only collect drugs and other smuggled goods that have been dropped into the forest and bring back illegal goods. I will.
According to law enforcement officers, at FCI Beaumont, cars routinely drop drugs, cell phones and other smuggled goods into the woods, and prisoners escape from prison at night, pick up goods and then enter. It has become. In problem. Officials were unable to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The Texas escape has, at least, attracted the attention of Justice Department inspectors. The office issued a memorandum of understanding this week highlighting obvious security gaps in Beaumont and other federal prison camps.
In one case, inspector generals reported that four prisoners were secretly undetected for more than 12 hours, even though prison officials counted three prisoners overnight during the 12-hour period. .. According to the report, the prisoners placed dummies in their beds to fool police officers.
“These are very small and unsafe facilities,” said former prison director Cameron Lindsay, who is currently witnessing as an expert witness on prison affairs. Due to its size and the generally low risk that prisoners pose, federal prison camps often have the lowest level of personnel in the prison bureau system and are the only one to supervise prisoners during shifts. He said that some officers would work.
In a statement, the prison bureau is working to ensure the safety and security of all prisons, and authorities will notify other law enforcement agencies and the media that prisoners will “leave” the prisons. Authorities have ruled that prisoners placed in minimal security camps are the lowest-risk criminals who “provide minimal risk to the community” and are generally allowed to participate in outdoor work programs and other initiatives. I emphasized that there is.
“BOP is always on the lookout for efforts to maintain a safe and secure agency,” the agency said. Officials said a review would be conducted after every escape to determine if “security weaknesses exist and, if there are good reasons, corrective action will be taken.”
In Beaumont, authorities said they were building fences around the prison, repairing broken door alerts, adding and upgrading video cameras, and installing additional lighting. Authorities also said they were considering adding staff to some prison camps.
“We take our duty to protect the individuals under our control and to keep the orthodontic staff and the community safe,” officials said in a statement.
Prison offices have been plagued by chronic violence, serious security problems, and long-standing persistent staff shortages. Last month, nearly one-third of U.S. correctional officers’ jobs were vacant, forcing prisons to use cooks, teachers, nurses, and other workers to protect prisoners. Reported.
The extended use of that practice, known as augmentation, is whether the agency can fulfill its obligations to ensure the safety of prisoners and staff while implementing the programs and classes required by law. Raises questions about.
The Prison Department claims that the latest employment initiative is hiring additional personnel to fill the gap.
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Jailbreak: 29 prisoners break out of federal blockade in 18 months
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