WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is creating a unique job force to address wrongdoer misconduct by federal Bureau of Jail officers at numerous correctional facilities after a packed gun was discovered at the very same jail where wealthy investor Jeffrey Epstein killed himself, Lawyer General William Barr told The Associated Press.
In an interview with the AP, Barr said he was planning to develop the job force that would “have a really aggressive evaluation of potential misbehavior by correction officers in certain institutions around the nation.”
Those facilities include the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, where Epstein eliminated himself last summer and where federal investigators discovered a loaded gun earlier this month. The weapon’s discovery followed a weeklong lockdown that turned up other contraband —including mobile phones, narcotics and homemade weapons — and led to a criminal probe by prosecutors in Manhattan into guard misbehavior focusing on the flow of contraband into the lockup.
The establishment of the task force comes as the nation’s jails and prisons are on high alert in reaction to the hazard of the coronavirus, stepping up prisoner screenings, sterilizing cells and canceling visitation at all 122 federal correctional centers across the nation. Correctional officers and other Bureau of Prisons personnel members who work in facilities in areas thought about hotspots for the coronavirus or at medical recommendation centers — which provide innovative care for inmates with persistent or intense medical conditions — are likewise undergoing improved health screenings, consisting of having their temperature taken before they report for responsibility each day.
The ability to smuggle a weapon into the Manhattan jail, which had been billed as one of the most safe in America, marked a enormous breach of protocol and raised severe concerns about the security practices in place at the Bureau of Prisons, which is accountable for more than 175,000 federal inmates.
It was just the latest crisis at the prison, which homes a number of high-profile inmates, including lawyer Michael Avenatti, who acquired popularity by representing pornography actress Rainy Daniels in lawsuits involving President Donald Trump. Federal prosecutors declare that the 2 correctional officers appointed to watch Epstein’s system were snoozing and shopping on the internet when he took his own life in his cell in August, and later on forged records to make it look like they examined in on him.
Barr named a new director earlier this month to take charge of the Bureau of Prisons, which has been the subject of intense analysis given that Epstein took his own life while in custody in August. The company has been afflicted for years by major misbehavior, violence and staffing scarcities so severe that guards often work overtime day after day or are forced to work mandatory double shifts.
Just this month, an prisoner was eliminated by another detainee inside a high-security federal prison in Illinois, 4 Bureau of Prisons officers were arraigned for lying about three prisoner deaths at a prison in North Carolina in 2019 and the Justice Department’s inspector basic found a warden at another center directed an acting warden not to report misconduct to internal affairs for a week, among other problems.
After Barr swore in Michael Carvajal as the new director of the Bureau of Prisons, the two met independently and Carvajal informed him he desired to “step up, considerably, enforcement efforts against correctional officers or supervisors who engage in wrongdoing,” the attorney general said.