Third Inmate Death Reported at Federal Prison as Dick Durbin Calls for Reform of Bureau

The third inmate killed in altercations at U.S. federal prisons in the past month has prompted Senator Dick Durbin to call for reform and the firing of Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal.

The federal prisoner, 33-year-old Jamarr Thompson, was serving a sentence of over five years at USP Florence in Fremont County, Colorado, when he got into an altercation with another inmate. Though the Bureau of Prisons said prison staff members "promptly initiated life-saving measures," Thompson was pronounced dead shortly after.

His death shortly follows similar deaths in prisons in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Senator Durbin of Illinois, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland last month to fire Carvajal, a Trump appointee, for failing to address a number of issues within the bureau.

Last week, Durbin reaffirmed his previous statements, pointing out a November attack at FCI Fort Dix in which an inmate was stabbed in the eyeball.

Issues Durbin previously brought up include the BOP choosing not to suspend officers who had committed various crimes. A report by the Associated Press showed that since 2019, over 100 bureau employees had been arrested, convicted or sentenced for crimes.

The AP also found the BOP ignored a host of misconduct allegations against federal prison corrections officers.

The agency received even more backlash for failing to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, which spread rapidly inside prisons across the country.

"It is past time for Attorney General Garland to replace Director Carvajal with a reform-minded Director who is not a product of the BOP bureaucracy," Durbin said in a statement.

ADX Supermax, Florence, Colorado, prison
An inmate at a Florence, Colorado, prison died in an altercation with another inmate, the third death in a federal prison within a month. Above, the ADX (administrative maximum) "supermax" prison in Florence is a state-of-the-art isolation prison for repeat and high-profile felony offenders. Photo by Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Sygma via Getty Images

Thompson's death was the latest security issue for the federal prison system, which has been plagued by chronic violence, serious misconduct and persistent staffing shortages. His death also comes as the Justice Department is facing mounting pressure from Democrats in Congress to take action to reform the agency.

Last month, a 61-year-old man died after an altercation at USP Tucson in Arizona. And a 32-year-old man was killed last week after a fight with another prisoner at USP Canaan in Waymart, Pennsylvania.

Thompson was serving a sentence for attempted bank robbery and had been held at the prison – which is home to more than 700 male inmates – since March.

The prison in Florence is a "supermax," which houses some of the country's most notorious prisoners.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Dick Durbin, Illinois, senator
Senator Dick Durbin called for Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal to be removed following a series of issues with the agency, including misconduct allegations. Above, Durbin (D-IL) speaks after the Democratic Party luncheon at the United States Capitol on Nov. 2. Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images