House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz cited the case of Antwon Pitt, who while serving a 24-month sentence for robbery at the U.S. Penitentiary in Coleman, Fl., “repeatedly harassed and threatened staffers that he would rape and kill them.” Pitt never was prosecuted, was released and was then convicted of rape. Executives of the prison got tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses.
A House committee will investigate the federal Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) handling of “egregious” misconduct at the largest government-run detention facility, where the warden and other officials were awarded thousands of dollars in bonuses despite female staffers’ persistent allegations of sexual harassment, reports USA Today. House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), highlighted the case of Antwon Pitt, who while serving a 24-month sentence for robbery at the U.S. Penitentiary in Coleman, Fl., “repeatedly harassed and threatened staffers that he would rape and kill them.” Pitt was never prosecuted for his actions against prison staffers. After his 2015 release, he was convicted of raping a Washington, D.C., woman during a break-in at her home. It is unclear, Chaffetz said, whether the prison agency informed local officials in charge of Pitt’s post-release supervision of his misconduct as an inmate.
Chaffetz’s cited reporting by the Washington Post on Pitt’s case and by USA Today, which reported that the BOP paid more than $2 million in bonuses to top administrators across the BOP during the past three years. That included including tens of thousands of dollars to four executives who held senior leadership posts at the Coleman prison where Pitt was serving time. The payments, which included a $34,000 bonus to Coleman’s then-warden Tamyra Jarvis, spanned the time of Pitt’s incarceration and during the course of a sexual harassment lawsuit involving hundreds of current and former staffers, who alleged that prison managers repeatedly failed to protect them from years of horrific sexual harassment and threats from inmates. A $20 million settlement of the legal action is pending before a federal judge. Sandra Parr, a vice president of the national union of prison workers, said the Coleman bonus recipients were made aware of the problems at the prison “but did nothing to fix anything.”