‘Tiger King’s’ Joe Exotic describes Atlanta federal prison as ‘bottom of hell’

FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2013, file photo, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic,...
FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2013, file photo, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, answers a question during an interview at the zoo he runs in Wynnewood, Okla. The Oklahoma zoo, featured in Netflix’s “Tiger King” documentary, has closed after federal authorities investigated it for alleged maltreatment of animals and suspended its license. The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park closed to the public after the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, suspended the exhibitor license for current-owner Jeff Lowe for 21 days.(Sue Ogrocki | AP)
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 4:49 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The infamous reality TV star “Tiger King” Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is now spending time in a cage at the Atlanta federal prison and he isn’t too happy about it.

In posts to social media, Joe says that senators (Jon) Ossoff and (Raphael) Warnock and (Herschel) Walker are “all lying to you Black Voters of #Georgia because the Animals at the Atlanta #Zoo are living better than your loved ones are in here... .” He also describes the prison as “the bottom of hell.”

In July, Sen. Ossoff opened hearings into alleged abuses and corruption at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta.

Ossoff, who is chairman of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, told the panel that a 10-month bipartisan probe uncovered a “harrowing picture of a federal prison in crisis for many years.”

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“Conditions for inmates were abusive and inhumane, and should concern all of us who believe in our country’s constitutional traditions, that all people have an Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and a Sixth Amendment right to counsel,” said Ossoff.

After the hearings, federal officials nearly emptied the prison and banned several prison staffers.

Ossoff recently inspected the prison and said that conditions at the prison appear to be improving. He also said it was too soon to declare the prison to be problem-free.

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The former 59-year-old zookeeper was sentenced to 22 years in prison in January 2020 after he was convicted to trying to hire two men to kill animal welfare activist and enemy Carole Baskin.

He was also convicted of killing 5 tigers, selling tiger clubs and falsifying wildlife records.

It is unknown why Maldonado-Passage is in the Atlanta prison or how long he will be there. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer after he was sentenced but is reportedly in remission. Recent media reports say he has been battling a common variable immunodeficiency and has been sick for the last few months. He was previously imprisoned at the Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina, which houses inmates with special needs.

Atlanta News First received the following statement from the Bureau of Prisons:

The BOP takes pride in protecting and securing individuals entrusted in our custody, as well as maintaining the safety of correctional staff and the community.  We make every effort to ensure the physical safety of inmates confined to our facilities through a controlled environment that is secure and humane.