Creation of New Bipartisan Bureau of Prisons Reform Caucus

August 25, 2020
In The News

Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) recently announced the creation of the bipartisan Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Reform Caucus. The BOP Caucus is meant to improve accountability and transparency, address systemic issues within the BOP system, and ensure the health and safety of corrections officers, staff, inmates, and the communities surrounding the prisons. 

Rep. Keller said, “I am proud to launch the BOP Reform Caucus today to increase accountability and transparency within the Bureau of Prisons and continue to advocate for the heroes who go to work every day at federal prisons across America. With a $7 billion budget, more than 36,000 employees, and 172,000 inmates, BOP is a massive government agency, yet its leadership in Washington, D.C. lacks adequate congressional oversight. The continued movement of inmates across the nation during a pandemic and the most recent outbreak of COVID-19 in USP Lewisburg and FCC Allenwood are proof that the policies BOP set in place to mitigate the spread of the disease have failed.”

Rep. Keller has sponsored other bills in the past that support inmates, such as the Pausing All New Detention and Ending Movement of Inmates for Coronavirus (PANDEMIC) Act of 2020 and the Federal Prisons Accountability Act. 

“As a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Bureau of Prisons, I’ve seen clearly that we need to fix this system. And it’s going to take a coalition of Democrats and Republicans to do it,” said Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA). “Today marks the beginning of a coordinated effort to address longstanding issues like dangerous staffing practices that jeopardize the safety of staff and security of our correctional institutions.”

Shane Fausey, National Council of Prison Locals 33 President said during the event announcing the caucus, “While the inmate population has declined slightly, its budgetary increases are met with illogical staffing cuts and executive bonuses. The mission-critical staffing cuts in the early 2000s led to the elimination of a second housing officer in many of our high security housing units.”

The new caucus includes Representatives Rodney Davis (R-IL), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), in addition to Rep. Keller.