March 8, 2014
Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr.
Federal Bureau of Prisons:
This week you are scheduled to visit FDC Philadelphia. It is my hope that while you are visiting you are able to inquire and address issues with the work cadre unit. Females from other institutions and security levels have been transferred to this institution for the benefit of the Bureau of Prisons which has negative effects on the inmates.
First of all, BOP policy states that re-designation procedures should follow the same initial designation procedure with the added variable of institutional adjustment. How then are camp status inmates who have noted excellent institutional adjustment able to transfer to a detention center for the sole purpose of providing a labor force with duties that are janitorial in nature?
Management variables, per definition, are to allow for staff judgment in designation when an inmates custodial or security level does not accurately reflect the inmates needs. The most recent 5 inmates that transferred from the Danbury, CT camp were in appropriate work placements for their medical needs, were highly active in programs, and had no discipline problems who so ever. Despite this, they were transferred to FDC Philadelphia because they were eligible for “gate passes” which enable them to work beyond the secure areas of the prison (i.e., janitorial services in lobby, warden s complex, and around the building performing cleaning services and snow removal). Two of those five women are over the age of 60 and had medical restrictions which were mysteriously wiped out by the FDC medical staff requiring them to perform job duties exceeding their physical capabilities. There was a similar transfer last year and one inmate then required a walker. So why was BOP policy violated and how is the BOP truly justifying this questionable practice of manipulating management variables to offset a financial burden of the BOP (i.e., to merely provide cheap labor)? This practice also violates federal statutes that make it a duty of the BOP to ensure than an inmate is in the least restrictive facility possible for their security level. This is not happening in these cases.
There are other viable options if a work cadre is necessary. In a building with over 900 males, why is there not a work cadre from that population? The women forced to work in this building are also subjected to sexual gestures and indecent exposure by male inmates when they work on a male unit. Frequently the men yell at the women and put their penises up to the cell windows. Subjecting women to this type of behavior on a routine basis is demeaning and also a violation of the BOPs duty to protect women from sexual advancements and further trauma. This would be eliminated if a male cadre was implemented.
Some very basic women’s needs are also not addressed, contrary to the 1997 establishment of the Management of Female Population initiative. First of all, this program statement notes that more minimum and low security facilities would be used to keep women close to their families. Nearly twenty years later the BOP is ignoring this initiative and chose to close the FCI Danbury, forcing more women to be placed in facilities not commensurate with their security level. The BOP is moving in a direction of causing more harm to their female population despite efforts in writing to ensure that their needs are met. The commissary in this institution is even eliminating basic female products like panty liners, doesn’t provide vitamins geared for women, and females are fed a diet high in carbs, more suitable to males. Females are also given the same scarce amount of toilet tissue. As you must know, women have three bodily functions over males having just one, for which toilet paper is necessary for basic hygiene.
Please use this opportunity this week to address these important correctional issues. A few months back in a judiciary hearing, you reportedly stated that you were not aware of any issues affecting the female population. Now I am making you aware of just a few of the serious issues in the prison system that are clearly visible in Philadelphia, and hope that you put a stop to these discriminatory and damaging practices…
There are many inmates, particularly those whose overall wellbeing and security also have been jeopardized by being transferred from the low and minimum security facilities in Danbury that would be able to discuss these issues in person this week.
REG # 17986-014
FEDERAL DETENTION CENTER
P.O. BOX 562
PHILADELPHIA, PA 19105