Bipartisan bill would rename Bureau of Prisons as Bureau of Corrections

Chaffetz added that 48 states already use the word "corrections" instead of "prisons," and said the federal government should follow their lead.

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"The renaming of the Bureau of Prisons will be an important step in the right direction toward fundamentally changing our approach to rehabilitation and successful re-entry into society," Jeffries said.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons is an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, and its website stresses the role it plays in both confinement and rehabilitation.

"The Federal Bureau of Prisons protects society by confining offenders in the controlled environments of prisons and community-based facilities that are safe, humane, cost-efficient, and appropriately secure, and that provide work and other self-improvement opportunities to assist offenders in becoming law-abiding citizen," its website says.

The Bureau says it "helps reduce the potential for future criminal activity by encouraging inmates to participate in a range of programs that have been proven to reduce recidivism."

The Bureau is responsible for the "custody and care" of about 219,000 federal offenders. Most of these prisoners are held in Bureau-controlled institutions, but some are held in privately managed or community prisons.

As an assemblyman in New York, Jeffries introduced legislation that would consider prisoners to be part of their home district, not the district where they are incarcerated, for the purposes of the decennial census.

Jeffries said in 2010 that counting prisoners in the districts where they are held allows some communities to "benefit from the criminalization of young people."