The mindset, activity and sophistication of federal inmates often force Bureau of Prison (BOP) officials to make difficult, split-second decisions. These decisions are made under unique circumstances that only employees who deal with incarcerated individuals can truly appreciate. BOP employees must act quickly. Unfortunately, the nature of this job, leaves BOP employees vulnerable to prisoner lawsuits and investigations into alleged misconduct. This is why BOP employees need professional liability insurance.
There are three areas of exposure that a professional liability policy responds to:
- Civil Lawsuits;
- Administrative and disciplinary matters; and
- Criminal investigations.
If you are an employee in a bargaining unit, this is important:
The administrative defense provision of the PLI policy is necessary when union legal support is inadequate, terminates or is exhausted. Moreover, union representation is generally not available for civil and criminal matters. We absolutely encourage the necessary functions and support of your union but you need to be aware of the limitations and when PLI becomes necessary. Most BOP employees are not aware of this until it is too late.
FEDS Protection is Affordable:
$1,000,000 Policy Annual Premium is $290
$2,000,000 Policy Annual Premium is $390
*Premiums are subject to applicable taxes and administrative fees
Payroll deduction is also an available payment option, starting at $12 per pay period.
The civil exposure is the very reason that Congress enacted special legislation requiring agencies to reimburse all BOP officials up to half of the cost of professional liability insurance. This congressional action clearly demonstrates Congress’ official support and belief that officers have a sense of security while making the tough decisions that are part of the job.
These types of suits are more likely, however, to be brought against officers given their respective law enforcement responsibilities and powers. These lawsuits usually involve an alleged 1st, 4th, 5th or 8th Amendment violation - commonly referred to as a Bivens action - or some other constitutional tort arising out of an enforcement action.
While the Department of Justice (DOJ) will represent the named federal employee in most civil suits (and the employee will have some level of immunity to avoid personal liability), this is not always the case. There are lawsuits filed against federal officers in which DOJ will not provide a defense—even when the employee is acting within his or her scope of employment—and for which the agent can be held personally liable.
- You can be sued.
- You can be denied representation.
- You can be held liable for damages.
Administrative and Disciplinary Matters
The Administrative Benefits are important to BOP employees because the federal legal investigative process of defending against allegations of misconduct or other wrongdoing is complicated; having an attorney experienced in federal matters to advise you of your legal rights and obligations and also the parameters of the law under which you've been accused is imperative in the initial investigative stages.
This includes any OIG, OPR, OSC, Internal Affairs, Congressional or any management directed investigation that could result in an action against you. Common allegations of wrongdoing against federal law enforcement officers resulting in these investigations include - but are not limited to - the following:
- Allegedly providing false or inaccurate information in an investigative document or in court testimony;
- Negligent performance of duties resulting in escape of inmate or subject, or other operational error(s);
- Alleged abuse of investigative authority;
- Alleged abuse of position;
- Failure to follow SOP or other supervisory instruction;
- Alleged failure to safeguard agency issued property - including a firearm;
- Whistleblower retaliation; and
- Ethical allegations.
As an insured member, FEDS Protection pays for legal defense up to $200,000 for any disciplinary or judicial sanction proceeding or administrative investigations into alleged misconduct arising out of any act, error, or omission by a federal employee while rendering a professional service.
The FEDS policy pays for legal defense up to $100,000 for any criminal proceeding or investigation into any act, error, or omission while rendering a professional service. A federal employee can be investigated criminally for even the most trivial matters and false allegations and if it happens to you without insurance, you must get and pay for legal representation. This does happen to good officers. There is very little a federal law enforcement officer can do wrong in the federal arena and not also have it be a potential violation of Title 18 (the federal criminal code).
Some of the most common criminal investigations involving federal employees are due to conflict of interest statutes where intent is not a prerequisite to prove the crime, release of privacy act or other statutorily protected information and/or something arising out of an allegation of misuse of position or authority.
Enrollment takes less than 5 minutes.
Have questions? Call us at 866.955.FEDS.
Please see the Master Policy for complete policy terms and conditions.