Lamine N’Diaye is the warden at the minimum-security federal prison located at Fort Dix, New Jersey. N’Diaye was transferred to Fort Dix from the Manhattan federal prison where he held the same position when Jeffrey Epstein hung himself as guards were browsing the internet and dozing off. The dark cloud followed N’Diaye to his new assignment where reports of widespread violence are surfacing almost daily, the latest of which involves an inmate stabbing another inmate directly in his eyeball.
The wounded inmate, a 27-year-old not identified by name, is expected to survive the stabbing but has remained hospitalized since Nov. 5 when he was ambushed and attacked from behind. Those with knowledge of the case are forbidden from publicly speaking about it so they must remain anonymous.
To assume that FCI Fort Dix is the only federal prison experiencing a rash of out-of-control violent incidents would be incorrect. It’s become a plague throughout the federal Bureau as staffing shortages leave the ratio of inmates to guards at dangerous levels. The frustrated guards are racking up misconduct charges from having been forced to become more aggressive at times, and prison escapes, serious injuries, and even deaths are spiking.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin has had enough of the nonsense. He wants to see Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal get tossed out on his tail after an investigation by the Associated Press showed prison employee criminal activity is running rampant as their higher-ups turn blind eyes.
FCI Fort Dix houses roughly 3,000 inmates, making it the largest federal prison in the country. It’s located on the grounds of McGuire AFB/Fort Dix and sits adjacent to another minimum-security prison camp, which houses an additional 231 inmates.
COVID-19 hit the facility hard with 1,600 inmates and 100 guards falling sick. Two inmates died and a significant number of prison employees walked off their jobs, never to return.
But the problems at FCI Fort Dix cannot be solely blamed on the pandemic or staffing shortages. Employee criminal activity has been going on inside those prison walls since Jesus was still an altar boy. In 2019, an inmate, a former inmate, and two other accomplices on the inside were caught smuggling tobacco, cellphones, eyeglasses, and weight loss supplements into the prison via drones.
Also in 2019, a correctional officer at the facility was found guilty of stuffing his pockets full of bribe money to not notice the prison’s growing pile of illegal contraband. Though he was the only one caught, it was apparent that other guards must surely have been in on the deal, and probably still are.
Viewing this scenario from another angle, can an inmate’s eye being gouged out really be blamed on Carvajal or N’Diaye? Violence in prisons is nothing new, but with the right amount of properly trained and experienced prison personnel, it can be somewhat contained. But when one guard is left to tend a flock of anywhere from 200 to 400 inmates, which has been reported, the hell they were able to suppress at one time will bust loose.
Correctional officers work long and dangerous hours for a frighteningly low amount of pay. When there are enough of them on board, it eases tensions and makes their under-appreciated jobs more tolerable by minimizing their chances of getting hurt.
Employee shortages have snowballed. As more prison officials walked off their jobs during the pandemic, prison crime and violence grew. As the violence grew, more officials walked out the door. And here we are…
The guards who remain are under intense pressure from the inmates to lend them a hand, and the money’s pretty good. Couple this with the fact that correctional officers are no longer able to be observed as closely as they once were, and there’s your problem.
So, who out there in readership-land has an idea about how to fix this escalating situation? Lay it on us.