DOJ Inspector General Outlines Challenges for Federal Prisons

By Christopher Zoukis As has been done annually since 1998, in October, the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general released a list of what he sees as the leading management and performance challenges confronting the agency in the year ahead. One of the eight areas identified by Inspector General Michael…

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Atlanta Federal Prison Inmates Freely Come and Go

By Christopher Zoukis In the late ’60s and early ’70s, late-night talk show host and comedian Dick Cavett used to tell stories about his none-too-bright cousin Norman. How dumb was Norman? Well, in one of a long series of failures, Norman set out to become a zookeeper, but couldn’t make…

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Incarcerated Author Releases Federal Prison Handbook


When Christopher Zoukis first went to prison over 10 years ago, he was completely unprepared. “I had no idea how the system worked, where I was going or what to expect,” says Zoukis, who is still incarcerated at FCI Petersburg in Virginia. Like most of the other 10 million Americans…

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Federal Halfway House Contractor Files Unsuccessful Suit Against Bureau of Prisons

By Christopher Zoukis On August 3, 2015, Bannum, Inc., a provider and operator of halfway houses for federal prisoners following their release, filed an amended complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the federal Bureau of Prisons and various BOP officials, alleging they had “engaged…

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DOJ Inspector General Identifies Challenges for Federal Prisons

By Christopher Zoukis What are the biggest challenges facing the Department of Justice in 2017? Michael Horowitz, the DOJ’s inspector general, gave his views on that question late last year, in a report titled Top Management and Performance Challenges Facing the Department of Justice, released on Nov. 11. Required annually…

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Smuggling Chaplain Shows BOP Has More to Do on Contraband

By Christopher Zoukis The U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) constantly battles to keep contraband – weapons, drugs, cellphones and other items – out of its correctional facilities. The dangers of weapons are obvious, but cellphones can be equally perilous, having been used to plot escapes and the intimidation – or…

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U.S. Department of Justice Finds Fault with Privatized Federal Prisons


By Chris Zoukis Privately-operated federal prisons, also known as contract prisons, have more violence, use-of-force incidents and contraband seizures than facilities run by the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), among other findings in an August 2016 report by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The…

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Department of Justice Gives Formal Approval on Bureau of Prisons’ Communications Management Units


By Chris Zoukis Nearly a decade after the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) began operating its notorious “Communications Management Units” (or CMU’s), the Department of Justice (DOJ) has formally issued a final rule approving the BOP’s restrictive policies already in place at those facilities. In 2006, the BOP opened its…

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Report Documents U.S. Recidivism Rates for Federal Prisoners

By Christopher Zoukis The U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC), an independent agency within the judicial branch which writes federal sentencing guidelines and studies federal crime and sentencing policies, on March 9 released a major new study, ‘Recidivism Among Federal Offenders: A Comprehensive Overview’. Drawing on data on more than 25,400 former…

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