U.S. Rep. Keller holds first meeting of Bureau of Prison Reform Caucus

June 3, 2021
In The News

Washington, DC - U.S. Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA 12) and the Bureau of Prisons Reform Caucus met with the U.S. Government Accountability Office to receive updates from the agency’s 2021 report entitled, “Opportunities Exist to Better Analyze Staffing Data and Improve Employee Wellness Programs.”

The findings of the GAO report showed clear inconsistencies within the BOP’s data collection systems and an inability to use this data to improve agency policies and operations.

Specifically, the report outlined flaws with BOP’s staffing methodology, its plan for identifying staffing shortages, and agency retention issues. 

“Throughout the pandemic, we saw BOP leadership make questionable decisions when mitigating the risk of spreading COVID-19, addressing staffing shortages, and taking care of their inmates and correctional officers,” Keller said during the meeting.

“BOP’s leadership needs to understand the decisions they make in Washington affect the daily lives of families and communities.” 

Keller went on to outline three major areas where BOP can improve, including:

  • Increased transparency and work with Congress
  • Better preparation for future emergency situations
  • More comprehensive data collection efforts

“The recommendations and insights provided by the GAO today gives the BOP Reform Caucus an important look into the serious management challenges that the Bureau of Prisons faces. We have heard from correctional officers across Pennsylvania and the country about systemic issues like staffing shortages, lacking internal data collection, and ineffective response strategies during COVID-19," Keller said in a statement.

"Moving forward, the BOP Reform Caucus must ensure that the BOP is transparent in meeting the standards it sets while also working with agency leadership to develop higher standards in the future," he continued.

Keller formed the Bureau of Prison Reform Caucus in August of 2020 after experiencing repeated issues with the BOP, including a lack of response from the agency and the continued movement of inmates across BOP facilities nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the serious need to halt movement and transfers to protect correctional officers, other inmates, and surrounding communities.

Members of the Bureau of Prison Reform Caucus include U.S. Reps. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15), Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13), Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03), Congressman Mike Bost (IL-12), Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08), Congressman Larry Bucshon (IN-08), Congressman Glenn Grothman (WI-06), and Congressman Randy Weber (TX-14).