Warden retires from federal prison plagued by escaping inmates

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Warden retires from federal prison plagued by escaping inmates

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October 30, 2015 Atlanta: The U. S. Penitentiary in Southeast Atlanta photographed on Friday afternoon October 30, 2015. Ben Gray / bgray@ajc.com

Suddenly and without explanation, the warden at the troubled federal prison in southeast Atlanta announced she was retiring.

Saturday was her last day, just days after FBI agents captured an inmate outside the prison grounds and just days before another is expected to change his not guilty plea to guilty.

Though federal agents only made their first of three arrests of escaping inmates in February, prisoners assigned to the minimum-security camp adjacent to the mammoth U.S. Penitentiary on McDonough Boulevard having been coming and going at will for years.

Inmates have used phones to run criminal businesses and even order murders from within the prison walls, but may soon be blocked with the help of technology.

According to court records, they are fetching cell phones, liquor, drugs and other contraband to sell to other inmates.

According to the union, former warden Darlene Drew called staff together last Thursday to say she was leaving, retiring after 32 years with the Bureau of Prisons and 4½ at the Atlanta prison.

The Bureau of Prisons in Washington has not responded to several emails requesting comment.

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