BREAKING: Senate Passes Sens. Ossoff, Braun, & Durbin, Rep. McBath & Armstrong’s Bipartisan Federal Prison Oversight Act

Bipartisan bill now heads to the President’s desk to become law

Bill will establish independent oversight of Federal prison system

Sen. Ossoff first introduced bipartisan bill in 2022 after leading multiple bipartisan investigations into Federal prison conditions
WATCH: Sen. Ossoff’s Senate floor remarks on the bill passage

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff’s bipartisan bill to strengthen Federal prison oversight just passed the U.S. Senate and now heads to the President’s desk to become law.

Sen. Ossoff introduced the bipartisan Federal Prison Oversight Act alongside Senators Mike Braun (R-IN) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and is co-sponsored by Senators Joe Manchin (I-WV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV); and Tim Kaine (D-VA). Congresswoman Lucy McBath (D-GA-07) and Congressman Kelly Armstrong (R-ND-AL) introduced and led the companion bipartisan bill in the House, which has nearly 40 co-sponsors.

The Federal Prison Oversight Act passed the U.S. House last month and now heads to the President’s desk to become law.

Sen. Ossoff first introduced the bipartisan bill in 2022 after leading multiple bipartisan investigations into corruption, abuse, and misconduct within the Federal prison system, uncovering a lack of oversight of the Federal prison system that led to long-term failures likely contributing to loss of life; jeopardizing the health and safety of incarcerated people and staff; and undermining public safety and civil rights.

The bipartisan Federal Prison Oversight Act will require the Department of Justice’s Inspector General (IG) to conduct comprehensive, risk-based inspections of the BOP’s 122 correctional facilities, provide recommendations to fix problems, and assign each facility a risk score, with higher-risk facilities required to be inspected more often. The IG must also report its findings and recommendations to Congress and the public, and the BOP must respond to all inspection reports within 60 days with a corrective action plan.

The bipartisan bill will establish an independent Ombudsman to investigate the health, safety, welfare, and rights of incarcerated people and staff. The Ombudsman would also create a secure hotline and online form for family members, friends, and representatives of incarcerated people to submit complaints and inquiries.

“Our bipartisan Federal Prison Oversight Act has passed the Senate. This is a major milestone. My bipartisan Senate investigations of corruption, abuse, and misconduct in the Federal prison system have revealed an urgent need to overhaul Federal prison oversight,” Sen. Ossoff said. “I now look forward to President Biden signing our bipartisan bill into law.”

“More transparency and accountability will create a safer environment for correctional officers and staff who work in our federal prisons as well as the inmates incarcerated in them. This bill does not allow the Department of Justice to intervene into the affairs of state and local jails, and will help to improve working conditions and keep our federal corrections officers safe,” said Braun.

“Restoring integrity to the Bureau of Prisons and addressing mismanagement in correctional facilities is a top priority of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bipartisan bill would improve prison oversight and ensure the Bureau is fulfilling its duty to provide safe and humane conditions of confinement to prepare incarcerated individuals for a successful return to society. I’m glad the Senate passed our bill and look forward to President Biden signing it into law,” said U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I’m pleased the Senate passed our bipartisan Federal Prison Oversight Act, which will overhaul federal prison oversight and improve safety for staff and inmates,” said Senator Manchin. “This commonsense legislation is especially important after the serious reports of abuses, staff shortages, and dangerous conditions at federal prisons in West Virginia and across the country. I fought hard to secure a much-needed pay raise for staff at Federal Correctional Complex Hazelton, and this legislation furthers my goal of improving safety and accountability for all federal prison facilities. I look forward to President Biden swiftly signing our legislation into law.”

“Investigations into our Federal prisons produced shocking and alarming findings,” Senator Capito said. “I was incredibly upset to read reports of misconduct by some prison officials, see the conditions of some facilities, and hear stories about the abuse of inmates. I am glad to see the Federal Prison Oversight Act pass the Senate. After discussions with numerous constituents, families, and corrections officers, I strongly support this legislation which aims to correct these issues within the Federal prison system, and I encourage the president to sign it promptly into law.”

“Following horrific stories of abuse and misconduct at prisons across the country, we need to take steps to ensure the health and safety of incarcerated individuals and prison staff. This bipartisan legislation does that by improving oversight of federal prisons,” said Sen. Kaine. “I’m glad the Senate unanimously passed it, and I urge President Biden to sign it into law quickly.” 

“My 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed 12 years ago by a man who is now serving a life sentence in prison. Through my family’s pain, I found the strength to forgive my son’s killer,” Rep. Lucy McBath said. “The passage of my Federal Prison Oversight legislation in the Senate marks a new step forward in ensuring accountability to protect staff and incarcerated individuals in our federal prisons. I thank Senator Ossoff and Congressman Armstrong for their collaboration on this important bill. When Republicans and Democrats come together, we can deliver common-sense solutions for the American people.”

“The Federal Prison Oversight Act moves our prison system into the 21st century, works across agencies, creates accountability structures, and requires risk assessments for our prisons. I am proud that Congress came together to improve the safety, dignity, and cost-effectiveness of our judicial system,” said Congressman Kelly Armstrong (N.D. At-Large).

The bipartisan bill is supported by civil rights, prison union, and public safety organizations, including the Council of Prison Locals (CPL), Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Justice Action Network, Due Process Institute, Right on Crime, and Niskanen Center.

Click here to read the Federal Prison Oversight Act.

# # #


Thank you

Your form has been received. Someone from our office will contact you when the next Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) process begins. If your request needs immediate attention, please don’t hesitate to call our Washington, D.C. office or Atlanta office.

Thank you

Your form has been received. Someone from our office will get back to you as soon as possible. Please allow 5–7 business days to process a request. If your request needs immediate attention, please don’t hesitate to call our Washington, D.C. office or Atlanta office.