An inmate stabbed in the eyeball in latest federal prison violence

An inmate stabbed in the eyeball in latest federal prison violence

Washington An inmate at the largest federal prison in the United States was stabbed in the eye by a fellow inmate this month, the latest horrific example of violence in a prison system beset by chronic turmoil, understaffing, corruption and abuse.

The 27-year-old inmate was attacked from behind at FCI Fort Dix, a low-security prison in Burlington County, New Jersey, run by the same jailer who was in charge of a federal prison in Manhattan when financier Jeffrey Epstein killed himself. Three people familiar with the matter told the Associated Press.

They said the prisoner, whom the Associated Press did not specify, has been in the hospital since the November 5 attack. It is expected to survive. People familiar with the matter were not allowed to discuss the matter publicly and insisted on anonymity.

The stabbing is the latest example of serious violence within the beleaguered Federal Bureau of Prisons. The agency has suffered several crises in recent years, including widespread staffing shortages, serious staff misconduct, and a series of desertions and deaths.

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On Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, called for the firing of Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal after an Associated Press investigation found rampant criminal activity among employees as agency officials condoned wrongdoing.

The warden at Fort Dix, Lamine N’Diaye, was formerly the warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the now closed federal prison in Manhattan. He was removed from this position after Epstein killed himself in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial for sex trafficking.

Prosecutors say the guards who were supposed to monitor Epstein were asleep and browsing the internet instead. The Bureau of Prisons closed the prison in October for much-needed repairs after years of decay, although it may never reopen.

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The Bureau of Prisons appointed N’Diaye as a monitor at Fort Dix in February despite an ongoing federal investigation into the lapses that led to Epstein’s death and in direct contrast to a public statement that the agency would delay any action until the investigation is over.

The bureau tried to hire N’Diaye for a Fort Dix job a year ago, but the move was halted by then-Attorney General William Barr after the Associated Press reported the transfer.

The Inspector General of the Ministry of Justice has not yet completed the investigation.

FCI Fort Dix, located on the grounds of Joint Military Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, is the largest single federal prison by population, with just under 3,000 inmates. The adjacent prison camp holds 231 inmates of minimum security.

The facility has been hit hard by the coronavirus, with two inmates dying of the disease and more than 1,600 inmates and 100 employees testing positive and recovering.

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The prison made headlines in 2019 when an inmate, a former prisoner and two other people were arrested for using a drone to smuggle contraband including cell phones, tobacco, weight-loss supplements and eyeglasses.

That same year, in a separate case, a Fort Dix correctional officer pleaded guilty to paying bribes to smuggle contraband.

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