The US Patriot Act is a piece of legislation some Americans loved while others feared claiming it would cause the erosion of their civil liberties.
The act went into effect after 9/11 in October of 2001. It’s still in place today and very active.
Part of the legislation is to ensure those who are in American federal prisons are monitored and treated fairly. It also requires the Office of Inspector General to investigate claims of civil rights violations.
According to a report issued by the OIG with the Justice Department it received nearly two thousand complaints of violations from January through June of 2010. Most of those complaints were not investigated or referred to another federal agency.
There were at least a half dozen that received scrutiny from the feds at DOJ. The cost of that scrutiny is right around $1.1 million dollars. When you think about the amount the government spends that might just be a deal for ensuring individuals have not been victimized by federal employees. Specifically, those who work at the federal Bureau of Prisons.
There were some very interesting cases highlighted in the federal audit the Insite obtained. It mainly addressed allegations by Muslims who are housed in the federal prison system. Their crimes were not clearly spelled out in the report.
The most surprising allegations in the audit have been leveled against several Chaplains in the federal prison system. In case you didn’t know Chaplains serve as religious ministers or counselors for those who are behind bars. Here are some the complaints that stick out with the Insite:
* A Muslim inmate alleged that a BOP chaplain denied him and a visitor access to religious meals, and prevented Muslims from obeying Islamic injunctions by forcing them to throw away food on a holy day.
* A Muslim inmate alleged that two BOP chaplains have exhibited a pattern of incompetence and bias when dealing with Muslim inmates and Islamic issues. The inmate alleged that the chaplains issued memoranda restricting the size of prayer groups and the duration of, and location of daily Muslim prayers. The inmate also alleged that BOP staff monitors Muslim religious services and classes in a restrictive manner.
* A Muslim inmate alleged that a BOP chaplain attempted to deny all Sunni Muslim inmates the right to pray in the prison chapel, issued a memorandum stating when Sunni Muslim inmates could pray, has repeatedly shown her dislike of Sunni Muslim inmates, and used her official position to oppress Sunni Muslim inmates.
As the Insite further examined the report there were also a long list of allegations against officers who worked for the Bureau of Prisons. All of the complaints once again were filed by Muslims who are prisoners in the system. Here are some I’ve highlighted:
* A BOP employee alleged that an inmate told him that BOP staff directed him to stop helping Islamic inmates, “because we don’t help terrorists.”
* The OIG is investigating a Muslim inmate’s allegations that two BOP staff members told him that they and others hated him because he is Arab and Muslim, and that they made crude statements to him relating to his religious articles. The inmate alleged further that BOP correctional officers directed other inmates to attack him and that he did not receive timely medical treatment for injuries resulting from the assault. In addition, the inmate alleged that several prison officials threatened him in an effort to force him to withdraw these complaints.
* A BOP employee sent an e-mail to other employees via the BOP’s network discouraging BOP staff from purchasing a U.S. postage stamp that allegedly recognized Islam. Another BOP employee added his comments and forwarded the message to approximately 200 individuals, including BOP staff and management officials. The BOP interviewed both employees. They admitted that they sent and forwarded the e-mail message. One of the employees who forwarded the message said he did so by mistake. BOP informed us that this matter is pending disciplinary action.
* A BOP employee forwarded an e-mail via the BOP’s network that made derogatory remarks about Muslims. The BOP interviewed the employee and he admitted to sending the e-mail. This matter is pending disciplinary action.
If you’re interested in reading the federal audit follow the link below the Insite has provided. Happy reading!