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New Bill Introduced Will Create Hotline For Prisoners To Report Misconduct To An Accountability Office

A bipartisan bill set to be introduced on Wednesday aims to enhance oversight of federal prisons, addressing multiple issues, including scandal and abuse. The Federal Prison Oversight Act would establish a hotline for inmates to report misconduct and mandate inspections and reporting by federal watchdogs and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. This follows a series of investigations led by Senator Jon Ossoff of Georgia, revealing corruption and abusive practices within the system, necessitating stronger oversight.

"My bipartisan investigations of corruption, abuse, and misconduct in the Federal prison system revealed an urgent need to overhaul federal prison oversight," Ossoff said as his office prepared to introduce the bill on Wednesday. "I am bringing Republicans and Democrats together to crack down on corruption, strengthen public safety, and protect civil rights."

The proposed legislation also involves the Justice Department's inspector general in assessing risks at the 122 federal prison facilities, ensuring that higher-risk facilities undergo more rigorous scrutiny. The bill enjoys support from both sides of the aisle, with Republican Senator Mike Braun and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin as cosponsors. Durbin emphasized the bill's aim to ensure safe, humane conditions in prisons and better prepare inmates for reintegration into society.

In December, testimonies from former inmates highlighted the urgent need for this legislation. Notably, Briane Moore recounted sexual abuse by a prison officer, underscoring the power dynamics and lack of surveillance that facilitated such misconduct.

The bill is supported by various stakeholders, including prison reform advocates, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Families Against Mandatory Minimums, who recognize the ongoing crisis in the prison system. The National Council of Prison Locals also supports the bill, noting the necessity for more transparent and effective oversight of the Bureau of Prisons. This legislation represents a significant move towards addressing systemic issues in the federal prison system.

Link: ABCNews


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