The Justice Department Inspector General and Bureau of Prisons officials are investigating several new allegations that employees of federal prisons mistreated Muslim inmates, according to a new report.
As required by the PATRIOT Act, the report discloses several complaints by Muslim inmates who say they were discriminated against by BOP employees. In all, the Inspector General processed 1,065 new civil rights or civil liberties complaints between Jan. 1 and June 30 and found 155 of the complaints required further review. That’s down from the previous six month period, when 1,293 new complaints were processed.
The Inspector General referred five new complaints to BOP: that a chaplain tried to deny Sunni Muslims access to a prison chapel; that BOP staff told a BOP employee to stop helping Islamic inmates “because we don’t help terrorists”; that a chaplain locked Muslim inmates in a room for prayers; that a correctional officer sprayed a Muslim inmate with chemical agents and was “restrained by his ankles and hands and left in an empty room
without a toilet, sink, shower, bed, food, or water for two days” and was offered a pork sandwich to eat; and an allegation that a Muslim inmate was physically and mentally tortured and provided meals with pork products.
The report does not detail where the incidents took place.
The Inspector General’s office itself is investigating a Muslim inmate’s allegation that two BOP staffers said they hated him because he is Arab and Muslim after which they made crude statements about his religious articles. He also alleged that they told other inmates to attack him and that he did not receive timely medical treatment after the assault.
BOP is continuing to investigate earlier reports that various staffers called an inmate a “suicide bomber”; ridiculed Islamic prayers and religious beliefs; encouraged staff to issue fabricated reports; harassed and showed hatred towards Arab-Muslim inmates; assaulted a Muslim inmate; and yelled at Muslim inmates for being on the “wrong side.”
Several other investigations were closed by either BOP or the Inspector General because they were found to be unsubstantiated. But in one case, a BOP employee resigned and another received a written reprimand over a racially inflammatory email. Another BOP officer retired after he was found to have confiscated an inmate’s Quran and thrown it in the garbage, later lying to cover up his actions.
The full report is available here.