Congressman Keller reintroduces bipartisan Bureau of Prisons Reform Caucus

February 24, 2021
Press Release
Cites findings in recent report as evidence of needed reforms to the federal prison system

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) renewed the bipartisan Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Reform Caucus in the 117th Congress, highlighting the group’s mission to bring greater oversight to federal prisons and address the systemic issues within the BOP system.

 

The announcement comes after the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its 2021 report entitled, “Opportunities Exist to Better Analyze Staffing Data and Improve Employee Wellness Programs.” The findings from this 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, Keller noted concerns with the BOP’s staffing methodology, its plan for identifying staffing shortages, and agency retention issues.

 

Keller pointed to the GAO report—paired with the BOP’s negligent inmate transfer policies throughout the pandemic—as a clear indication of the need for the BOP Reform Caucus in the new session.

 

Members of the BOP Reform Caucus include Congressman 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).

 

On the reintroduction of the BOP Reform Caucus, Congressman Fred Keller made the following statement:

 

“As the Chair of the BOP Reform Caucus, my priority is to ensure the health and safety of the heroes who operate and secure our federal prisons every day, as well as the inmates housed in these facilities, and the communities across our nation impacted by BOP policies. In light of the GAO’s findings, it’s clear that this bipartisan caucus is needed now more than ever to identify shortcomings in the BOP’s operations and work collaboratively to correct course. Moreover, addressing the BOP’s failed policies during the COVID-19 pandemic which put our corrections officers and the communities they serve at risk is just the beginning of this caucus’ important work to increase accountability and transparency within the BOP and hold its leadership in Washington, D.C. accountable. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this caucus to deliver real, bipartisan results.”

 

A copy of the GAO report is available here.

 

Background:

 

Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District contains two federal prisons—USP Lewisburg and FCC Allenwood, both in Union County—with a third, USP Canaan, directly outside of the district.