Bipartisan Group of U.S. Senators Seeks Answers on Federal Halfway House Closures
WASHINGTON – Today FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums) praised a bipartisan group of U.S. senators for asking the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to explain its recent closures of more than a dozen halfway houses, which help federal prisoners reenter the community. The letter also seeks an explanation as to why halfway houses are providing fewer staff and services that give prisoners the counseling, drug treatment, and other preparation they need so that they do not reoffend.
“We have been asking members of Congress to demand answers from the BOP, and today they did,” said Kevin Ring, FAMM president. “For some prisoners, the time and services provided by a halfway house are essential to a successful reentry into the community. The BOP’s decision to reduce halfway house time and transitional services jeopardizes public safety and deserves the same level of scrutiny that Congress applies to sentencing and prison reform. We are grateful to all the senators who signed this letter.”
The letter was signed by Sens. Charles Grassley (R-IA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Rob Portman (R-OH), Al Franken (D-MN), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Brian Schatz (D-HI).
As news of halfway house closures has spread, scores of prisoners and their family members have written to FAMM. Prisoners describe being required to spend more time in prison and less time in halfway houses, or no time at all, because of closures. Many of these prisoners have served five, 10, or 15 years and more in prison, and said they need the services that halfway houses provide to find jobs and housing. FAMM urged policymakers to expand federal halfway house capacity and to review the services these facilities provide in its June 2017 report, Using Time to Reduce Crime: Federal Prisoner Survey Results Show Ways to Reduce Recidivism.
FAMM promotes commonsense sentencing and prison policies that increase public safety.
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