Over the past 18 months, 29 prisoners have escaped from federal lockups. Nearly have not been caught, says the Los Angeles Times. In 2020, 12 inmates who escaped and are still on the run were from California, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Colorado.
Two others who escaped this January who have not been caught. All of the escapes occurred at minimum-security federal prison camps. Some of these prisons don’t have fences and house inmates whom the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) considers the lowest security risk.
Many also were able to break out as there are doors left unlocked and broken security cameras. Sometimes officials don’t notice someone is missing for hours. The prison camps were designed with low security to make operations easier and allow working inmates to avoid repeatedly checking in and out of the main prison’s facility, but many leave to retrieve contraband.
While these “walkaways” are escaping from federal prison, law enforcement officials say there is little risk to the community when an inmate escapes. This still raises concerns that the agency, which already suffers from mismanagement, misconduct, and a severe staffing crisis, is failing to keep prisoners in.
A Justice Department budget report submitted to Congress said the BOP experienced no escapes, but the report didn’t count those who escape from minimum-security prisons or camps.
In a statement, the BOP said, “The BOP remains vigilant in its efforts to maintain safe and secure institutions at all times.” Officials said a review is conducted following every escape to determine “if any security weakness exists and, if warranted, corrective actions are taken.”