Norton Announces DOJ Inspector General Has Begun Assessment of Conditions at Hazelton Prison
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, in response to her request, has begun an assessment of conditions at the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) Hazelton facility in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia. In his response to Norton, Horowitz said, “We are carefully reviewing the information in your letter, and have requested more information from the BOP about conditions affecting safety and security at the Hazelton facility. After we complete our initial assessment of this information, we will make a determination as to the appropriate course for further action.” Horowitz also took note of Norton’s “concern that these incidents may be indicative of ‘larger, ongoing problems at the facility,’ caused in part by under-staffing and inadequate training.”
Norton requested the investigation into alleged appalling conditions at Hazelton after receiving reports from constituents and their families after two inmates from the District of Columbia died at Hazelton during violent altercations this year. Norton again pressed her request after James “Whitey” Bulger was reportedly killed less than a day after being transferred to Hazelton. Hazelton houses inmates who have committed federal crimes, but D.C. Code felons are the only local felons housed by BOP. Norton has called for the removal of all D.C. Code felons from the Hazelton facility.
“I am grateful that the Inspector General has begun so quickly after receiving our letter to examine brutal conditions being reported at Hazelton,” Norton said. “The families of inmates and federal employees who work at Hazelton have drawn attention to conditions at the BOP facility that have put inmates and staff alike in danger. A third-party review by the Inspector General is much-needed to analyze the conditions at Hazelton and recommend appropriate actions.”