Suicide attempts are common at Bureau of Indian Affairs prisons, where inmates are housed in overcrowded jails and corrections officers are so few that prisoners walk away from some facilities, says the Interior Department’s inspector general. The Washington Post says a new report cited poorly trained guards, underfunded medical facilities, and unsanitary conditions even after the prisons got more than $150 million for construction projects since 1997. The agency is often hard-pressed to account for money it has spent, the report said. “This is one of the most condemning reports I’ve seen in more than 20 years of oversight work,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “It finds very little worthwhile in Indian detention centers, which are overseen by the federal government, and lots of horror stories.”
The report coincides with the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall. Grassley is holding a hearing today on the issue. Interior spokesman Dan DuBray said that more than 1,000 prison repairs have been made recently.