Senate Panel Decries “Abusive and Inhumane” Conditions at Federal Prison in Atlanta

This article features Government Accountability Project clients Ms. Terri Whitehead, and was originally published here.

The director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Michael Carvajal, came under intense criticism during a Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday examining the horrific conditions inside the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, where at least 13 people have died by suicide since 2012. Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff, who chairs the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said the conditions inside the prison were “abusive and inhumane.”

Sen. Jon Ossoff: “Inmates hanging themselves in federal prisons, addicted to and high on drugs that flow into the facilities virtually openly, and as they hang and suffocate in the custody of the U.S. government, there’s no urgent response from members of the staff, year after year after year.”

A former administrator at the Atlanta federal penitentiary, Terri Whitehead, also testified at Tuesday’s Senate subcommittee hearing on conditions at the prison.

Terri Whitehead: “I was shocked and appalled by the USP Atlanta big picture. On a daily basis, there were numerous policy violations, which put the staff, inmates and the local community in danger. For example, there were so many rats inside the facility dining hall and food preparation areas that staff intentionally left doors open so the many stray cats that hung around the prison could catch the rats. It is never a good idea to leave prison doors open.”