Congressman Fred Keller holds first virtual bipartisan Bureau of Prisons Reform Caucus meeting
Washington – Today, the Congressional Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Reform Caucus founded by Congressman Fred Keller (PA-12) held its first official meeting, seeking legislative solutions to increase transparency and cooperation in improving America’s federal prison system.
Congressman Keller, the BOP Reform Caucus’ Chairman, led the discussion addressing structural issues that stem from a lack of government oversight of and accountability from the BOP.
Caucus member offices in attendance included Representatives Larry Bucshon (IN-08), Mike Bost (IL-12), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), and Andy Kim (NJ-03).
During his introductory remarks, Congressman Keller outlined the caucus’ mission and aims:
“The impacts of COVID-19 have exposed many underlying issues within the BOP, specifically its lack of communication with Congress, inadequate staffing levels and inmate oversight, and its operational organization in response to immediate crises.”
Congressman Keller also noted that staffing reductions at federal prisons have resulted in a nationwide shortage of correctional officers, as current levels represent only 75% percent of the ‘mission critical’ level of officers the agency testified would be necessary to keep its employees safe.
“It is time Congress works together to bring thoughtful and effective change to this federal agency.
This caucus will work to break down the barrier between the BOP and Congress to make sure our correctional officers have the manpower and resources they need to perform their jobs effectively, ensuring that the federal BOP leadership in Washington puts their health and safety first.”
Congressman Keller formed the BOP Reform Caucus in August of 2020 after experiencing repeated issues 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. The BOP Reform Caucus will continue to address these concerns and highlight legislative efforts to bring accountability and transparency to the BOP.