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FAMM releases statement following introduction of bipartisan prison oversight bill
WASHINGTON – FAMM President Kevin Ring hailed the introduction of a bipartisan bill – the Federal Prison Oversight Act – to establish independent oversight of the nation’s 122 federal prisons. The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Senators Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Mike Braun (R-IN) and in the House by Representatives Lucy McBath (D-GA) and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND).
“Families with incarcerated loved ones for years have been calling for greater transparency, safety, and accountability from our federal prisons. The bipartisan bill introduced today answers their calls,” said Ring. “It’s been said that sunlight is the best disinfectant — and yet our prisons are the darkest places in the nation. With no meaningful oversight, incarcerated people and correctional officers are not safe, and our elected leaders are not even aware of the problems that need to be fixed.”
The Federal Prison Oversight Act would:
- Task the Justice Department’s Inspector General (IG) with conducting comprehensive, risk-based inspections of federal prisons to identify shortcomings that affect incarcerated people and staff, and to provide recommendations to address them;
- Establish an Ombudsman within the Justice Department tasked with performing targeted investigations into issues that adversely affect the health, safety, welfare, or rights of incarcerated people or staff;
- Require the Ombudsman to create a secure hotline and online form so that family members, friends, and representatives of incarcerated people can submit complaints and inquiries; and
- Authorize the IG and the Ombudsman to have access to all Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities, as well as the ability to conduct unannounced visits and have confidential conversations with incarcerated people and staff.
The bill is supported by American Conservative Union, Americans for Prosperity, Faith & Freedom Coalition, Due Process Institute, Justice Action Network, Right on Crime and the Niskanen Center.
For more than three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM has led the fight to reform extreme mandatory sentencing laws and to promote rehabilitation and dignity for all people in prison, 94 percent of whom will return to our neighborhoods one day.
FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safely reduce incarceration, save taxpayer dollars, and keep families together. Founded in 1991, FAMM has secured bold sentencing and prison reform across the country while elevating the voices of directly impacted individuals and families.