Sunday’s incident happened at a minimum-security federal prison camp — most of which don’t even have fences and house inmates the Bureau of Prisons considers to be the lowest security risk. Federal prison camps were originally designed with low security to make operations easier and to allow inmates tasked with performing work at the prison, like landscaping and maintenance, to avoid repeatedly checking in and out of a main prison facility. But the lax security opened a gateway for contraband, such as drugs, cellphones and weapons.
“The safety and security of all of our institutions is our top priority, including our camps. And so, what a terrifying incident to have had happened. I am so glad it didn’t have the negative outcome that it could have had given the situation,” Peters told the AP.
“We look forward to assessing security protocols at our camps and see if we have changes that we need to make,” she said.
The Bureau of Prisons, which has faced myriad crises in recent years, has also struggled to stem the flow on contraband. In 2020, investigators found a loaded gun that had been smuggled into the Metropolitan Correctional Center -- the federal jail where Jeffrey Epstein killed himself. The weapon was found after a weeklong lockdown that led to a criminal probe into misconduct by correctional officers.
An ongoing AP investigation has uncovered deep, previously unreported flaws within the agency, including significant abuse, neglect and leadership missteps. Peters was brought on this summer after the agency's former director resigned in the wake of AP's reporting on the agency.
Peters has vowed to bring new transparency to an agency that has long been a haven of secrecy and coverups.
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