Exploring Life Inside Aliceville Women’s Federal Prison |  – Video

Exploring Life Inside Aliceville Women’s Federal Prison | – Video

The video Inside the Aliceville women’s federal prison | 60 Minutes takes viewers on a rare behind-the-scenes tour of the federal Bureau of Prisons. With an understaffed and underfunded system in crisis, the video sheds light on the challenges faced by the women’s prisons, particularly at the low-security women’s prison in rural Alabama, Alvil. Colette Peters, the director of the Bureau of Prisons, is determined to bring about change and transparency within the system, despite the challenges. The video covers important topics such as rehabilitation, recidivism, and the lack of staffing, shedding light on the complex issues within the prison system.

The video also addresses the alarming pattern of abuse and sexual misconduct of female inmates by male officers, which is a disturbing issue that has been uncovered by government investigations. Through interviews with inmates, it becomes clear that the reality inside the prison may not match the staged image presented to the public. Moreover, the video highlights the controversy surrounding the controversial practice of augmentation, where non-correctional staff are tasked with guarding inmates, further complicating the issues within the prison system.

This 60 Minutes video provides a thought-provoking and eye-opening look at the challenges faced by the federal Bureau of Prisons and the urgent need for reform.

Watch the video by 60 Minutes

Video Transcript

The United States federal prison system has 157,000 inmates in its custody and locks up some of the most dangerous and high-profile criminals in the world serial killers and terrorists are among those inside its 122 prisons which includes supermax penitentiaries and minimum security camps the cost to American taxpayers is more than 8

Billion a year tonight we will take you inside the Federal Bureau of Prisons an agency in crisis a series of government investigations has found the bureau’s workforce is dangerously underst staffed and inside its women’s prisons there is an alarming pattern of abuse Colette Peters is in charge of fixing the Bureau

Of Prisons she’s the sixth director in six years the story will continue in a moment this is alvil a low security women’s prison in rural Alabama where more than 1,400 inmates are serving time people drive past prisons every day yeah they’re terrified of them or they don’t think

About them at all right it’s kind of like this forgotten Zone I don’t want people to forget about this place Colette Peters became director of the Bureau of Prisons in August 2022 after a 20-year career in Corrections she’s built a reputation as a reformer I love your poster we are all

Stronger than we think aren’t we before becoming director she was credited with shaping Oregon state prison system by prioritizing staff mental health support and advocating for the compassionate treatment of inmates I have this very early memory in kindergarten where an individual came in with a pocket knife and was marched to the principal’s

Office and I just remember in that moment saying I want to help him many people in your custody are there because of horrific crimes why do they deserve compassion because 95% of them are going to come back to our community someday and I want them to be productive

Taxpaying citizens who no longer commit crimes but the Bureau of Prisons is so inadequately staffed it is struggling to fulfill its Mission rehabilitating inmates and keeping its prison safe government Watchdogs have documented disrepair in all of its institutions requiring more than $2 billion in fixes and employees rank the Bureau of Prisons

The worst place to work in the federal government it’s very rare for the media to be allowed inside a federal prison why are we here I truly believe in transparency are we perfect no do we have issues we need to resolve absolutely but I want people to see the

Good stuff we toured alvil with director Peters and saw where inmates live learn new trades and work on this day sewing sleeping bags for the military a coveted job because it pays a115 an hour you ladies are amazing and when you leave here you’re going to be incredible

This ceremony is for inmates graduating from a faith-based program preparing them for life on the outside by connecting them with Community leaders and teaching them life skills like anger management but the reality is nearly half of federal inmates will end up back behind bars or arrested within 3 years

Of getting out a lot of those faces in there who have so much promise and hope today could end up right back in here yeah you know I think we have a lot of work to do to dial down that recidivism rate we have to send fewer people to

Prison for shorter periods of time and then when they’re here do things like this you also have a major Staffing issue and people can’t get these classes that they need Staffing was a problem before the pandemic and so that those recruitment efforts and those retention efforts have gotten hard how many corre

Officers do you need on staff to get you out of this Staffing crisis so we hope to have that real number for uh you and the public um very soon that seems like a critical number how was that not on your desk when you took this job on day

One and and still not there a year later so the good news is this was a problem the bureau was trying to solve before I got here and we’re in the process of solving IT director Peters says she expects to have the number of officers needed by October more than two years

After taking office but Shane fzy the recently retired president of the Federal Prison employees union says he knows what that number is now we’re short about 8,000 positions Nationwide how bad is it it results in one of us losing our lives and it’s that bad we can’t continue with this course

By the unions count the Bureau of Prisons is down about 40% of the correctional officers it needs the less supervision you have the the more bad things happen misconduct increases violence increases and because there are not enough officers the bureau relies on other prison staff to step in it’s a controversial practice called

Augmentation teachers nurses doctors Food Service people the people that maintain facilities they’re doing what now they’re in a housing unit supervising offenders do they have training in that they do but I can tell you I’m no better a plumber than they are a correctional officer I can walk

Into a housing unit and tell you something’s right or something’s wrong you developed that over years of experience let’s break this down we are talking about HVAC repairmen and accountants who are now guarding inmates that doesn’t sound safe so it is so they have the exact same training as the

Correctional officers now what I will say is augmentation should only be used in the short term we’ve used this now to solve a long-term retention and recruitment problem and that isn’t right on this point the union and management agree prison staff like teachers and doctors need to be able to do their jobs

So that inmates don’t lose access to critical services and programs their Buzz phrase is everybody’s a correctional officer first that sounds good on paper but if you take the teacher out of the classroom and nobody’s teaching the offender the skills to go back out to society we’re just back to warehousing people

While we walked the halls of alvil classrooms were packed but several inmates told us that much of what we saw in our tour was staged am I getting a real look at what life is like in here today absolutely not no definitely not the staff is very disrespectful here

Even though we made mistakes um when we’re out here we’re not treated with respect you feel safe here um sometimes me prison is prison you feel what I’m saying tell me about Staffing there’s short staff all the time there’s times where you don’t know if you’re going to

Be able to go outside because somebody didn’t come to work and if you were to speak up about some of these issues that you’re telling me about what would happen you’re going to the shoe short for special housing unit is the jail inside a prison where inmates are segregated from the general population

And seldom let outside of their C make you nervous to talk to me right now a little bit the director is coming today what does she need to know about alvil fix it we need more education more like opportunity to grow and rehabilitate cuz we don’t have that here I’ve talked to a

Handful of inmates here today and they say look you’re getting a cleaned up version of what life is really like I’ve been doing this work for a long time uh so I can see when things have been swept under the rug if you will I’m not naive

And when anybody comes to your house you clean it up of all the issues plaguing the Bureau of Prisons perhaps none is more disturbing than the rampant sexual abuse of female inmates by the male officers who are supposed to protect them women are housed in nearly a

Quarter of federal prisons and a 2022 Senate investigation found that Bureau staff have sexually abused female prisoners in at least 2third of those facilities over the past decade alvil is no exception three officers have been convicted of sexual abuse since 2020 including one who pleaded guilty earlier

Than this month those are just the cases that we know about how does this keep happening you can’t predict human behavior but what I can tell you is the things that we’re putting in place to manage to that misconduct I think are the right things and sending a clear

Message that this type of behavior is egregious horrendous and unexcusable but female inmates at a women’s prison in Northern California accused director Peters and the Bureau of Prisons of failing to protect them its official name is federal correctional institution Dublin but it’s known by inmates and staff as the rape Club seven Dublin

Officers including the warden and the chaplain have been convicted of sexually abusing nearly two dozen inmates from 2018 to 2021 and this past August eight inmates filed suit claiming sexual abuse continues to this day these are mothers their daughters their sisters Tess cor worked as a correctional officer at for

25 years she resigned in 2022 after she says she was retaliated against for whistleblowing they train Us in the red flags to look for and then when we report hey they every red flag this guy meets you need to go deal with this they don’t do anything what was the chaplain

Doing that made you suspicious one time I came in on a weekend he didn’t know I was there his office was dark he had an inmate in there with him and I don’t know what they were doing that’s a red flag oh definitely former officer cor says she reported the chaplain and other

Officers who she suspected of sexually abusing inmates to an internal affairs investigator but was ignored for years until Federal investigators stepped in what happened to the officers that you accused most of them have been or in the process of being convicted and a lot of them are in named

In lawsuits right now how’s that make you feel good the Bureau of Prisons has a backlog of nearly 8,000 open misconduct investigations hundreds of which contain allegations of sexual abuse director Peters hired more staff to tackle the backlog but she says it will take two years to clear those cases

In response to the Dublin lawsuit Bureau of Prison lawyers say inmates claims have been investigated and that no threat remains we’ve done a tendous job in the last year rebuilding that culture and creating a uh institution that is more safe where individuals feel comfortable coming forward and Reporting

Claims you just used the phrase tremendous job in Dublin eight inmates have filed a class action lawsuit and they’ve got testimony from more than 40 current and former Dublin inmates who say that the abuse is ongoing that means the the process is working that they have the ability to come forward they

Have the to bring that class action lawsuit together these Dublin inmates say that they are facing retaliation for speaking out I have been very clear that retaliation will not be stood on my watch and so when allegations of retaliation come forward they are investigated and we will hold those

People accountable it’s one thing for you to say that retaliation is not tolerated but it sounds like it’s actually still happening again I would say those are allegations um I would like to be more grounded in fact around proven retaliation the fact is that an additional 19 staff

Members have been accused of abusing inmates The Bureau says those staff members have been put on leave New Management has been brought in and there are now working security cameras in areas where inmates were abused what are these victims owed to have individuals who are in our

Care who rely on us for their Safety and Security and to have that be violated I don’t know that you can bring anything uh that that would undo that wrong what about an apology the victims in Dublin say they’ve never received an apology well I will tell you um that is

Our mission to keep them safe that is our job is your job to apologize for what happened in Dublin I don’t know that my job is to apologize um is it heartbreaking and horrendous to have something like that happen uh when you are proud of your profession as a Corrections professional

Absolutely in addition to the lawsuit filed this past August more than 45 current and former Dublin inmates have filed lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by bureau of prison staff

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Video “Inside the Aliceville women’s federal prison | 60 Minutes” was uploaded on 01/29/2024 to Youtube Channel 60 Minutes