OIG: Federal Bureau of Prisons Special Ops Teams Conducted ‘Inappropriate and Dangerous’ Mock Exercises

Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced the release of a Management Advisory Memorandum to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) identifying concerns with the handling of mock exercises by the BOP Special Operations Response Teams (SORT).

This memorandum arises out of concerns identified in connection with two incidents, both occurring last year, in which BOP staff members sustained injuries during SORT mock exercises. During the first incident, the SORT deployed an unauthorized “flash bang” type munition that hit a staff member role player and detonated, causing significant injury. During the second incident, SORT members allegedly used force, including Oleoresin Capsicum spray (also known as pepper spray), against uninvolved staff members, including employees on restricted duty due to medical conditions.

In addition to identifying potential policy violations and dangerous conduct, the OIG determined that the BOP has inadequate policies governing mock exercises.

The DOJ OIG makes four recommendations to address the concerns identified, including the suspension of all SORT mock exercises until comprehensive guidelines for mock exercises are developed. The BOP informed the DOJ OIG that it is not conducting mock exercises during the pandemic.

Read the full OIG report

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