Federal prison officials are not reading all mail sent and received by convicted terrorists and other high-risk inmates, a security gap that could prove deadly, a Justice Department review concluded Tuesday.
Moreover, prison investigators read less inmate mail now than a year ago at seven of 10 prisons surveyed by the Justice Department's inspector general.
"Consequently, the threat remains that terrorist and other high-risk inmates can use mail and verbal communications to conduct terrorist or criminal activities while incarcerated," concluded the inspector general's report of U.S. Bureau of Prisons facilities.
The mail investigation was spurred, in part, after three convicted terrorists at a federal maximum-security prison in Florence, Colorado, were found to have written an estimated 90 letters between 2002 and 2004 to Islamic extremists including some with links to the March 11, 2004, attacks on commuter trains in Madrid, reports AP.
Following that, the Bureau of Prisons began limiting high-risk inmates' mail and telephone calls, the inspector general found. It also hired more Arabic translators and sought to better analyze mail for clues to suspicious or criminal activity.
But limited funding, in the face of a growing inmate population, has hindered those efforts, the inspector general's report concluded.