Reality star Joe Exotic says zoo has better living conditions than Atlanta Federal Penitentiary

ATLANTA — Famed reality star Joe Exotic is now in the Atlanta’s federal prison, according to his official Instagram account, and he took to social media to complain about the conditions.

In a post on Instagram, he said:

“I have officially landed at the bottom of hell, at the Federal Prison in Atlanta GA. Senator Ossoff, Warnock and 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, I promise.”

Channel 2 Action News reached out to the Federal Bureau of Prisons for a response to the claims. It sent a statement saying:

“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.”

Channel 2 Action News has reported on the security and safety issues that have plagued the prison for years.

A U.S. Senate Committee investigation led by Sen. Jon Ossoff uncovered back in July that security and safety lapses at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary are so bad, a government assessment called it a security risk for people across the southeast.

The committee’s investigation uncovered thousands of pages of internal records documenting mismanagement and wrongdoing at the facility in Southeast Atlanta dating back nine years.


Among the safety concerns identified were 800 contraband cellphones confiscated in a 2021 sweep. In 2020, more than half the surveillance cameras did not work: 142 of 253 cameras were down, and even those in operation were three hours off in recording time.

The investigation also uncovered that staff “intentionally damaged” the prison’s drug detection machine. It did not work for a year.

Last week, Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray reported that the new director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons inspected the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary alongside Ossoff.

Ossoff told Gray that Director Colette Peters committed to changing and improving the prison.

“I want to be really clear, I’m not here to tell you the problems are solved. What I’m here to tell you is, I’m seeing some indication that the Bureau of Prisons, for the first time in a decade, is getting serious about solving them, and I’m going to continue to push them to solve these problems,” Ossoff said.

While Peters did not speak publicly on her visit to Atlanta, she testified before a Senate committee in September that she is committed to increasing accountability.

“We have to know, I have to know, headquarters needs to know when there are things that are not working, when there’re allegations of misconduct we have to be informed,” Peters said.

The Bureau of Prisons has terminated contracts of some senior leaders in Atlanta and moved dozens more out of the facility.