x

Politics

Senate Launches Group to Examine Embattled US Prison System

February 17, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate is launching a bipartisan working group of lawmakers to scrutinize conditions within the Bureau of Prisons following reporting by The Associated Press that uncovered widespread corruption and abuse in federal prisons.

The working group, being led by Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., and Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., is aimed at developing policies and proposals to strengthen oversight of the beleaguered federal prison system and improve communication between the Bureau of Prisons and Congress.

The group plans to examine the conditions of incarceration inside America’s 122 federal prisons, protect human rights and promote transparency. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., also will be part of the group.

The federal prison system, a hotbed of corruption and misconduct, has been plagued by myriad crises in recent years, including widespread criminal activity among employees, systemic sexual abuse at a federal women’s prison in California, critically low staffing levels that have hampered responses to emergencies, the rapid spread of COVID-19, a failed response to the pandemic and dozens of escapes. And late last month, two inmates were killed in a gang clash at a federal penitentiary in Texas, prompting a nationwide lockdown.

In early January, the embattled federal prisons director, Michael Carvajal, announced he was resigning amid growing criticism over his leadership of the bureau. The Justice Department is searching for a new director — even posting advertisements on LinkedIn — but hasn’t found a replacement yet.

“America’s prisons and jails are horrifically dysfunctional and too often places where brutality and criminality are prevalent,” Ossoff said in a statement to the AP on Thursday. “The Senate Bipartisan Prison Policy Working Group will identify and advance solutions.”

Ossoff, Braun and several other lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, have introduced legislation to require the director of the Bureau of Prisons to be confirmed by the Senate, as is the case with nearly every other major federal agency.

In a statement, Durbin said the working group was “essential to helping us achieve our goal of creating safer conditions for those at correctional facilities.” He said the trio was “committed to working on a bipartisan basis to improve conditions and safety, strengthen transparency and communications, and reduce recidivism in our federal prison system.”

The Senate passed legislation that Ossoff had introduced to require federal prisons to repair and upgrade security systems, including broken surveillance cameras. Failing security cameras in federal prisons have allowed inmates to escape undetected and were the center of the investigation when wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused girls as young as 14, killed himself behind bars in 2019.

RELATED

SILVER SPRING, Md - Smartwatches and rings that claim to measure blood sugar levels for medical purposes without piercing the skin could be dangerous and should be avoided, the U.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Fire Breaks Out at Apartment Building Near the Offices of TNH (Vid & Pics)

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY – A fire broke out in an apartment building about a block from the offices of The National Herald in Long Island City on February 21.

NEW YORK - Charles H. Dallara, the former Managing Director of the Institute of International Finance (IIF) and a central figure in the 2012 restructuring of Greece's debt, has penned what Nick Gage describes as a "riveting narrative" of those tumultuous times.

CULVER CITY, Calif — President Joe Biden said Wednesday that while a college degree was still a ticket to a better life, that ticket is often too expensive, as he announced he was canceling federal student loans for nearly 153,000 borrowers.

XINJIANG  - Chinese police are investigating an unauthorized and highly unusual online dump of documents from a private security contractor linked to the nation's top policing agency and other parts of its government — a trove that catalogs apparent hacking activity and tools to spy on both Chinese and foreigners.

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump's legendary ability to raise massive sums of political cash may be on a collision course with a new and unpleasant reality.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.