The Justice Department inspector general has criticized the federal prison system’s failure to monitor potentially criminal communications of convicted terrorists and other inmates, says USA Today. In a 100-page report yesterday, Inspector General Glenn Fine found that the federal Bureau of Prisons is not adequately monitoring prisoners’ mail, telephone calls, visitor communications and cell-block conversations that could be part of criminal enterprises. The bureau lacks the staffing and expertise to translate communications conducted in foreign languages or to assess possible threats.
The investigation started after news reports last year that three terrorists convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and imprisoned in the most secure federal facility in Florence, Co., wrote more than 90 letters to Islamic extremists outside prison walls. Investigators based conclusions on reviews of 10 high-security institutions where many of the 146 convicted international terrorists are jailed and hundreds of the estimated 19,720 high-risk inmates are detained. More than 190,000 inmates are in the federal system. The report found that the number of high-risk inmates – including gang leaders and terrorists – has increased by an estimated 60 percent in 10 years. During that period, BOP staff rose 14 percent.