Published on: Thursday, November 9, 2023

Inside a federal prison in Florida, incarcerated people are served moldy bread. Containers of food are covered by what appear to be rodent droppings and bags of cereal contain insects. Water frequently leaks from ceilings and windows (article available here).

Inspectors found inmates were being served moldy bread; spoiled food in the warehouses, including rotting vegetables; rodent droppings on bags of food; bugs crawling in bags of cereal.

These are some of the conditions the Justice Department inspector general's office found during an unannounced inspection of the Federal Correctional Institution Tallahassee in Florida this year.

The findings are detailed in a new report released Wednesday, and 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 in an interview.

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.

"It's often been said that you judge a society by how it treats its inmates. By that standard, we're not doing great. Just look at the pictures. Look at the report," he said.