NEW JERSEY – An inmate at the largest federal prison in the United States was stabbed in the eyeball by a fellow inmate this month, the latest horrific example of violence in a prison system plagued 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, which is run by the same warden who was in charge of a federal prison in Manhattan when the financier Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide. , three people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
The inmate, whom the AP does not identify, has remained hospitalized since the Nov. 5 attack, they said. He is expected to survive. People familiar with the matter were not authorized to discuss it publicly and insisted on anonymity.
The knife attack is just the latest example of serious violence at the beleaguered Federal Bureau of Prisons. The agency has been through a multitude of crises in recent years, including widespread staff shortages, serious employee misconduct, a series of escapes and deaths.
On Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., called for the firing of Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal after an AP investigation found rampant criminal activity among employees as agency officials ignored the wrongdoing.
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Fort Dix director Lamine N’Diaye was previously director of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the now closed federal prison in Manhattan. He was removed from his post after Epstein killed himself in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Prosecutors say the guards who were supposed to watch Epstein were sleeping and browsing the internet. The Bureau of Prisons closed the jail in October for much-needed repairs after years of disrepair, though it may never reopen.
The Bureau of Prisons named N’Diaye director at Fort Dix in February, despite an ongoing federal investigation into the failings that led to Epstein’s death and in direct contradiction to a public statement that the agency would delay any decision. until the end of the investigation.
The office attempted to place N’Diaye in the Fort Dix position a year earlier, but the move was halted by then-Attorney General William Barr after the AP reported the transfer.
The Department of Justice‘s inspector general has yet to complete the investigation.
FCI Fort Dix, located on the grounds of Joint Army Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, is the largest federal prison by population, with just under 3,000 inmates. An adjacent prison camp has 231 minimum-security inmates.
The facility has been hit hard by COVID-19, with two inmates dying from the disease and more than 1,600 inmates and 100 staff testing positive and recovering.
The prison made headlines in 2019 when an inmate, a former inmate and two others were arrested for using a drone to smuggle including cellphones, tobacco, weight loss supplements and eyeglasses .
That same year, in a separate case, a Fort Dix corrections officer pleaded guilty to pocketing bribes for smuggling.