A new report released Wednesday by the Justice Department inspector general’s office on the Federal Correctional Institution Tallahassee in Florida reported contaminated food and infrastructure problems, NPR reports. The findings follow a series of other investigations by the watchdog that have documented major challenges in the federal prison system, which currently houses some 150,000 inmates across more than 120 facilities. "The two biggest issues facing the BOP are the crumbling infrastructure and staffing challenges," Inspector General Michael Horowitz said. Those two fundamental issues have contributed to a host of other problems across the sprawling federal prison system, including physical and sexual abuse against inmates, neglect and corruption.
The inspector general's office also found the prison was in bad physical condition, including water leaking from ceilings and windows; sinks coming off walls; paint and plaster falling off the walls. "When we go to Tallahassee and we see windows leaking and ceilings leaking on to inmate living space, and we see female inmates having to use feminine hygiene products to keep the water from coming into their space, that's something you should never have to deal with," Horowitz said. The report says the issues identified at the prison, FCI Tallahassee, are largely consistent with findings in its other oversight work of the Bureau of Prisons. For example, the watchdog's earlier inspection of the lockup in Waseca, a low security female prison in southern Minnesota, also identified a leaky roof in need of replacement. Both facilities also suffer from staffing shortages that routinely force guards to to work overtime, which the report says can leave staff less attentive and negatively affect security at the facilities. It also frequently means that health care workers, facilities management workers and education workers at the prisons are pulled from their regular jobs to work shifts as guards.