DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz has alerted Michael Carvajal, the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, about "urgent concerns involving staff entering BOP facilities without being searched."
The IG’s recommendation released on Thursday came in connection with an investigation of the presence of "contraband" at an unnamed federal prison. Federal law defines contraband as "prohibited materials," such as drugs, weapons, tobacco, electronic devices, and currency.
"A review of the facility’s video monitoring system revealed that staff were able to enter the facility during the night shift and walk around the metal detector without being screened," the IG wrote in a memo addressed to Carvajal.
The memo points out multiple investigations by the IG’s office have found staff bringing contraband into federal prisons: "In connection with an investigation regarding the introduction of contraband at a BOP facility, we reviewed the facility’s video monitoring system and found that staff, carrying personal items, were allowed to enter the facility during the night shift by walking around the metal detector and without being searched."
Horowitz’ office said the BOP "should ensure that its facilities are properly staffed to ensure that all staff and their belongings are properly searched in accordance with BOP policy before staff enter BOP facilities. … The BOP should ensure that any staff members observed attempting to circumvent the search policy are stopped and screened prior to entering the secure parts of BOP facilities."
BOP staff searches in connection with contraband is a longstanding issue that the DOJ IG has flagged to BOP in many prior instances.
The BOP agreed with the recommendations and has issued instructions to all BOP facilities.