OIG Report on Enhanced Screening of Bureau of Prisons Correctional Officer Candidates…

OIG Report on Enhanced Screening of Bureau of Prisons Correctional Officer Candidates Could Reduce Likelihood of Misconduct

Today. I was interviewed by the Voice of Russia America on the importance of the newly issued report of the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General on “Enhanced Screening of Bureau of Prisons Corrections Officer Candidates Could Reduce Likelihood of Misconduct.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/r/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2011/09/29/National-Politics/Graphics/e1102.pdf

Although the vast majority of correctional officers appropriately handle their duties in a stressful environment, the OIG found that “those who do jeopardize the safety and security of other staff and inmates and undermine public confidence in the BOP.”

The report found that misconduct allegations, as well as arrests, of BOP Correctional Officers have increased within the past decade, misconduct allegations and arrests happen mostly within officers’ first two years of employment, and that certain combinations of correctional officer applicants’ background characteristics are predictive of bad behavior. Some of those characteristics included being disciplined in prior employment, separating from prior jobs under unfavorable circumstances, having one or fewer jobs as a supervisor, having bad debts, having relatives who are inmates, using marijuana, and working for less than 9.8 years at the longest-held prior job. The report cautioned that these characteristics were only predictive of misconduct when they appeared in particular combinations.

The report detailed which combinations were most predictive and also indicated that some of the increase in substantiated allegations may be attributed to the now total ban of tobacco products within the prisons as well as the enhanced enforcement of the Rape Eliminations in Prisons Act.

It further provided guidance in hiring procedures to reduce the hiring of candidates who may be prone to misconduct. Although substantiated misconduct by prison officials is highly problematic in that these officers are entrusted with maintaining order within corrections facilities, the spotlighting of the issue and suggestions to lessen its impact are to be commended.

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