Durbin Meets with DOJ Inspector General Ahead of Release of Report on Deaths in BOP Custody

WASHINGTON  U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today met with Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz to discuss his office’s investigation into the non-medical deaths of those in Bureau of Prison (BOP) care.  At the request of Durbin, IG Horowitz previously agreed to review the reports of abuse and the death of seven incarcerated men at Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Thomson in 2022 as part of a larger report on deaths in BOP facilities.

“I am still deeply disturbed by the reports of death and abuse of incarcerated adults that have come out of FCI Thomson, and we must understand what lies at the root of these deaths.  BOP must be held to a higher standard, which I emphasized in my meeting with Inspector General Horowitz today,” said Durbin.  “As the review concludes, I hope that Inspector General Horowitz’s report will shine a light on how BOP can prevent death and abuse in federal facilities.”

A photo of the meeting is available here.                                              

As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Durbin has prioritized oversight of BOP facilities.  In April 2021, the Committee held a BOP oversight hearing with then-Director Carvajal to address chronic understaffing issues and other concerns.  In September 2022, the Committee held its second BOP oversight hearing under Chair Durbin, which was BOP Director Peters’ first time testifying before Congress since taking over as head of the Bureau.  At that hearing, Durbin askedDirector Peters about abuse in prisons.

In September 2023, Durbin held a Committee hearing entitled, “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Prisons,” which included testimony from Director Peters.  During the hearing, Durbin followed up on his letter requesting information about the allegations of abuse at Thomson by questioning Director Peters on the issue.