Most interesting to me is that we see here two of the main ways – reasons often repeated in the face of a serious inquiry – prison administrators try to avoid being held accountable for wrongdoing: 1. “It is a matter of prison security” and 2. “There is a shortage of guards”

Both are bullshit and here is why: as to #1, the matter often has nothing to do with prison security, and, even if it did, the inquiring authority could seal it!  But the courts buy the argument of prison officials, reasoning that they are the best people “to determine the orderly administration of the prison”. This, however, is a false premise. They are not interested in “the orderly administration of the prison”; they are interested in hiding their wrongdoing! As to #2, the main reason that there is a shortage of guards is that new recruits quit in droves when they see the crimes committed daily by their fellow C Os!

Human Rights and Human Wrongs.

Excerpts from the Article:

The federal prison system paid $1.6 million in bonuses to its top executives and wardens during the past two years despite chronic staffing shortages and sharp critiques of prison management leveled by Congress, according to records obtained by USA TODAY. The payments – the latest in a series of annual awards – ranged from $5,400 to $23,800 per official. The largest sums went to the agency’s leadership team, including $20,399 tothe U.S. Bureau of Prisons’ acting director, Hugh Hurwitz, and the wardens of prisons who confronted what union officials described as dangerous shortages of guards.

Joseph Coakley, who managed the maximum security complex in Hazelton, West Virginia, where notorious gangster Whitey Bulger and two other inmates were murdered last year, received $20,399. Coakley, who retired this year, collected an additional $34,500 in awards paid out during 2015 and 2016 for his work at Hazelton and at a facility in Beckley, West Virginia.

Bulger’s murder drew a harsh spotlight to conditions at the Hazelton prison complex, where in addition to the violence, authorities had long grappled with officer vacancies that persisted at federal prisons across the country.

A shortage of prison officers forced wardens to tap secretaries, teachers, nurses, kitchen workers and other nonsecurity staffers to patrol cellblocks, solitary confinement units and prison yards, often with little preparation for their new roles.

“Bonuses are given based upon work performance,” the bureau said in a written statement. “Information contained in the performance award justifications may relate to safety and security and therefore, would not be releasable.”

At least two congressional committees raised questions about the widespread deployment of civilian staffers to cover officer vacancies and other management issues in the federal prison system. The Bureau of Prisons is the nation’s largest correctional system, responsible for managing 121 facilities that house 180,000 inmates.

Last year, Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., cataloged troubling allegationsby whistleblowersin a letter to Hurwitz, including sexual harassment complaints against bureau officials, prison security breaches, assaults on guards and persistent staffing shortages. “These allegations are grounds for serious concern,” Johnson wrote.

“Please explain how BOP decides to promote, reward or give bonuses to staff, including those involved in sexual abuse allegations,” a committee investigator wrote to one bureau staffer last year. The investigator’s questions, reviewed by USA TODAY, did not specifically identify officials accused of sexual abuse. Addressing its use of civilian staffers to cover guard posts, the bureau said, “Staffing decisions are based on the needs of the facility, and augmentation is one tool to ensure critical correctional officer posts are covered on a daily basis. All wardens are responsible for ensuring a safe and orderly running of correctional facilities and use every means possible to ensure the safety of staff, inmates and the public.”

“This is completely disheartening,” said Joe Rojas, union chief at the bureau’s largest prison complex in Coleman, Florida, where he said a staffing report showed that the complex was down about 200 people, including officers and other support personnel, from its authorized 1,370 staffers.

The warden at Coleman, Roy Cheatham, is listed as having received a $20,399 bonus during the most recent distribution in 2017-2018.

“How can you justify these bonus payments when we don’t even have enough people to staff the place?” Rojas said. “There is no way to justify this.”

The Whole Story