Senate group to examine federal prison system after corruption, abuse allegations
The U.S. Senate will form a bipartisan group to examine the Federal Bureau of Prisons after a slew of allegations of corruption and abuse, Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) announced Thursday.
The group will “examine conditions of incarceration in U.S. Federal prisons, protect human rights, and promote transparency,” Ossoff wrote.
The group, led by Ossoff and Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), will also focus on streamlining communication between the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Congress.
“America’s prisons and jails are horrifically dysfunctional and too often places where brutality and criminality are prevalent,” Ossoff said. “The Senate Bipartisan Prison Policy Working Group will identify and advance solutions.”
The Federal Bureau of Prisons has come under fire for scandals in many of its 122 federal prisons, including widespread sexual abuse, criminal activity among prison staff and a lack of COVID-19 protections.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will also be part of the working group, which he says will be “essential to helping us achieve our goal of creating safer conditions for those at correctional facilities.”
“We are committed to working on a bipartisan basis to improve conditions and safety, strengthen transparency and communications, and reduce recidivism in our federal prison system,” Durbin added.
Ossoff and Braun introduced legislation recently that will require the head of the federal Bureau of Prisons to be confirmed by Congress, joined by a bipartisan group of senators including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Legislation was recently passed, introduced by Ossoff, that requires prisons to upgrade security systems including camera surveillance after broken cameras have allowed escapes and suicides.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons is currently in search of a leader after former federal prisons director Michael Carvajal resigned amid criticism.