Post Date: July 23, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee has approved the FY 2014 spending bill that funds the Departments of Commerce and Justice. An exciting part of the funding bill would provide $1 million for the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections, a 9-member panel that would review the federal prison system’s operation to ensure that offenders are held accountable and being rehabilitated, leading to greater public safety. The Task Force would also review the high costs of federal prisons, which currently consume a full quarter of the Justice Department’s crime-fighting budget.
The Task Force is named for the late Charles Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries and its advocacy arm, Justice Fellowship. Colson was counsel to President Richard Nixon and then served a federal prison sentence after being convicted for his role in the Watergate incident. Colson went on to become a champion for better rehabilitation programs and conditions for prisoners, as well as sentencing laws that fit the crime and the offender.
FAMM’s government affairs counsel, Molly M. Gill, says, “Our federal prison costs are out of control because we are locking up so many nonviolent offenders for so long, using mandatory minimum sentences. This system is unsustainable and jeopardizes funding for the programs that actually make us safer. The Charles Colson Task Force on Corrections can help Congress understand how we got into this mess and how to clean it up. If the federal Bureau of Prisons is keeping too many people in prison who are not a real danger to the public, taxpayers deserve to know why, and they deserve a solution.”
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