The Federal Bureau of Prisons ( BOP ), which is the component of the Department of Justice (Department) responsible for incarcerating all federal defendants sentenced to prison, was operating at 20 percent over its rated capacity as of December 2015. To help alleviate overcrowding and respond to congressional mandates , in 1997 the BOP had begun contracting with privately operated institutions ( often referred to as “contract prisons ”) , at first on a smaller scale and later more extensively, to confine federal inmates who are primarily low security, criminal alien adult males with 90 months or less remaining to serve on their sentences. As of December 2015 , contract prisons house d roughly 22, 660 of these federal inmates , or about 12 percent of the BOP’s total inmate population . These contract prisons were operated by three private corporations: Corrections Corporation of America; GEO Group, Inc.; and Management and Training Corporation.
The BOP’s annual expenditures on contract prisons increased from approximately $562 million in fiscal year (FY) 2011 to $639 million in FY 2014. In recent years, disturbances in several federal contract pri sons resulted in extensive property damage, bodily injury, and the death of a Correctional Officer.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG ) initiated this review to examine how the BOP monitors these facilities. We also assessed whether contractor performance meets certain inmate safety and security requirements and analyzed how contract prisons and similar BOP institutions compare with regard to inmate safety and security data. We found that, in most key areas, contract prisons incurred more safety and security incidents per capita than comparable BOP institutions and that the BOP needs to improve how it monitors contract prisons in several areas . Throughout this report, we note several important corrective actions the BOP has taken, in response to findings and recommendations in our April 2015 audit of the Reeves County contract prison, to improve its monitoring of contract prisons , including in the areas of health and correctional services.
The BOP’s administration, monitoring, and oversight of contract pri sons is conducted through three branches at BOP headquarters and on site . According to the BOP, at each contract prison, two BOP onsite monitors and a BOP Contracting Officer , in cooperation with other BOP subject matter experts , oversee each contractor’s compliance with 29 vital functions within 8 operational areas , including correctional programs , correctional services , and health services .
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