UNITED STATES NEWS

Prison deaths report finds widespread missteps, failures in latest sign of crisis in federal prisons

Feb 15, 2024, 9:35 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The kind of systemic failures that enabled the high-profile prison deaths of notorious gangster Whitey Bulger and financier-sex offender Jeffrey Epstein also contributed to the deaths of hundreds of other federal prisoners in recent years, a watchdog report released Thursday found.

Mental health care, emergency responses and the detection of contraband drugs and weapons were all lacking, according to the scathing report that’s the latest sign of crisis at the federal Bureau of Prisons.

More than half of the 344 deaths over the course of eight years were suicides, and Justice Department watchdog investigators found policy violations and operational failures in many of those cases. That included inmates who were given potentially inappropriate mental health assignments and those who were housed in a single cell, which increases the risk of suicide.

In one-third of suicide cases, staff did not do enough checks of prisoners, an issue that has also been identified in Epstein’s 2019 suicide.

The second-highest number of deaths were homicides, including Bulger, who was beaten to death by fellow prisoners in 2018. Investigators found “significant shortcomings” in staffers’ emergency responses in more than half of death cases, including a lack of urgency and equipment failures.

Contraband drugs and weapons also contributed to many deaths, including for 70 inmates who died of drug overdoses, said Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general. The system is also facing major operational challenges, including widespread staffing storages and outdated camera systems, the report states.

“Today’s report identifies numerous operational and managerial deficiencies, which created unsafe conditions prior to and at the time of a number of these inmate deaths,” Horowitz said. “It is critical that the BOP address these challenges so it can operate safe and humane facilities and protect inmates in its custody and care.”

The Bureau of Prisons said “any unexpected death of an adult in custody is tragic,” and outlined steps it has taken to prevent suicides, screen for contraband and make opioid-overdose reversal drugs available in prisons. The agency said it’s also working to reduce the number of people housed alone and forestall conflicts that could lead to homicides.

A separate Associated Press investigation, meanwhile, has found myriad crises within the agency, including widespread criminal conduct by employees, rampant allegations of sexual assault and significant staffing shortages that have hampered responses to emergencies.

United States News

Associated Press

US investigating some Jeep and Ram vehicles after getting complaints of abrupt engine stalling

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. auto safety regulators are investigating complaints that some Ram pickup trucks and Jeep Wagoneer SUVs can lose power, shift into park and apply the emergency brake. The probe announced Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration covers about 150,000 vehicles made by Stellantis from the 2022 model year. All have […]

33 minutes ago

Associated Press

US-Russian journalist convicted in a rapid, secret trial, court records show

A Russian court has convicted Alsu Kurmasheva, a Russian-American journalist for the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, of spreading false information about the Russian army and sentenced her to 6½ years in prison after a secret trial, court records and officials said Monday. The conviction in the city of Kazan came on Friday, the […]

57 minutes ago

FILE - A Delta Air Lines jet leaves the gate, Friday, July 19, 2024, at Logan International Airport...

Associated Press

Air travel delays continue, though most airlines have recovered from global tech outage

Delays at some airports continue after a faulty software update caused havoc worldwide and led to the grounding by almost all airlines of a number of flights, but the impact is receding. Total cancellations within, into or out of the U.S. earlyl Monday totaled 758, according to the latest data from FlightAware, which is greater […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

2024 Election Latest: Harris vows to ‘earn and win’ party nomination after Biden drops out

President Joe Biden dropped out of the 2024 race for the White House on Sunday, ending his bid for reelection following a disastrous debate with Donald Trump that raised doubts about his fitness for office just four months before the election. Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris is being thrust into the most scrutinizing of spotlights, […]

2 hours ago

United States' forward LeBron James waves to the crowd after the end of an exhibition basketball ga...

Associated Press

LeBron James selected as Team USA male flagbearer for Paris Olympics opening ceremony

LeBron James wasn’t totally sure what the opening ceremony was all about when he was picked for his first Olympics in 2004. This time, he’ll be one of the stars of the show. James has been picked by his fellow U.S. Olympians to serve as the male flagbearer for the Americans in Friday night’s opening […]

3 hours ago

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan speaks to employees in Washington, Thur...

Associated Press

EPA awards $4.3 billion to fund projects in 30 states to reduce climate pollution

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $4.3 billion in grants to fund projects in 30 states to reduce climate pollution. The money will go to 25 projects targeting greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, electric power, commercial and residential buildings, industry, agriculture and waste and materials management. The grants are paid for by […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Prison deaths report finds widespread missteps, failures in latest sign of crisis in federal prisons