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Federal prison official subpoenaed by Senate committee to talk about Atlanta prison corruption

(The Center Square) — A U.S. Senate committee has subpoenaed the head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to testify at a hearing later this month.

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The U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations wants BOP Director Michael Carvajal to testify during a July 26 Subcommittee hearing investigating corruption, abuse, and misconduct at U.S. Penitentiary Atlanta.

U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff, D-Georgia, the subcommittee’s chair, and Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, the subcommittee’s ranking member, issued the subpoena last week. The lawmakers said that the U.S. Department of Justice has declined to make Carvajal voluntarily available to testify.

“To date, the Subcommittee has been provided no legal basis that would prevent Director Carvajal’s testimony before the Subcommittee, and the Department of Justice continues to refuse to make him available to testify,” Ossoff and Johnson said in a joint statement.

Carvajal, who has led the BOP since February 2020, has announced his plans to retire but said he would continue to serve until a replacement was named. Last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that he had selected Colette Peters, the director of the Oregon Department of Corrections since 2012, to head the BOP starting Aug. 2.

In November, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on Garland to replace Carvajal.

USP Atlanta, which opened in 1902, has been the center of various scandals in recent years, and by August 2021, according to one press report, the facility was nearly vacant.

In December, a federal corrections officer at USP Atlanta, Patrick Shackelford, and federal inmates Patrick Kirkman and Mitchell Arms were arraigned on bribery, smuggling and drug charges. Authorities said the three planned to smuggle contraband and narcotics into USP Atlanta between June 2018 and February 2019.

In May, Jennifer Deramus, a long-time correctional officer at a county jail in Prattville, Alabama, and her fiancée, Julius Stoudemire, an inmate at USP Atlanta, were sentenced after they were convicted of trying to smuggle methamphetamine into USP Atlanta.

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

The Georgia Virtue
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