BOP Stands for Big Ol’ Problems: Exposing Dysfunction & Danger at the Federal Bureau of Prisons


Judges routinely hand out prison sentences in white collar/non-violent offender’s cases, believing a client will end up in a minimum security “camp” and that their time there will therefore be less severe, or even “easy”. 

But, the days of the “Club Fed,” if they ever existed at all, are OVER.  Decision makers need to understand that even low-level, non-violent offenders will do HARD TIME at the BOP even at a minimum security or a “camp.” 

That is because the BOP is bloody mess.  It is plagued by staffing shortages, lack of meaningful mental and physical care, corruption, violence, drugs and alcohol, and crumbling infrastructure.  

Therefore, if the system is truly concerned with rehabilitation and not just retribution, then Judges must consider with far more frequency, alternatives to incarceration that can still satisfy the goals of sentencing.  

Helping us get for sentencing is the staff of Prisonology, it’s head, Walter Pavlo (writer for Forbes), and former BOP officials, Maureen Baird and Jan Perdue.   These folks are credible voices who know the system inside and out. 


  • Staffing shortages, including missing or incompetent medical and mental health staff;
  • Change in culture at the BOP from professionalism to chaos;
  • Lack of programming;
  • First Step Act issues;
  • Staff corruption issues;
  • Lack of adequate staff training;
  • Lack of adequate inmate orientation;
  • Some camp horror stories;
  • Attorney’s need to get knowledgeable BOP experts to help make these sentencing arguments;
  • Culture of silence:  Retaliation against staff and inmates for speaking out;
  • Suicide – the leading cause of death at BOP;
  • Infrastructure problems in so many aging BOP facilities;
  • Alternatives to incarceration – giving the judge other options besides prison.



EP. 18 – “Prison consultants and the myth of the fixer”

EP. 3:  “Telling the Story of Prison with Maureen Baird”

Walt Pavlo’s recent Forbes Article:  “The Unnecessary Risk of Incarcerating Minimum Security Inmates”

Recent relevant post on Prof. Doug Berman’s Blog:  Extraordinary punishment: Conditions of Confinement and Compassionate release:

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