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BREAKING: U.S. House Passes Sen. Ossoff’s Bipartisan Bill to Fight Crime, Corruption, & Abuse in Federal Prisons

Bipartisan bill will require Federal Bureau of Prisons to upgrade outdated, broken security camera systems

Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan PSI investigations into Federal prison system have uncovered crime, corruption, & abuse — made worse by inadequate security camera systems

Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan bill passed the Senate last year & heads to become law

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff’s bipartisan bill to fight crime, corruption, and abuse in Federal prisons passed Congress and is headed to the President’s desk to become law.

The U.S. House tonight passed Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan Prison Camera Reform Act, which will require the Federal Bureau of Prisons to upgrade outdated, broken security camera systems, ensuring all facilities have the coverage necessary to protect the civil rights and safety of incarcerated people and staff.

“I’ve led multiple investigations of crime and corruption in Federal prisons. Broken prison camera systems are enabling corruption, misconduct, and abuse,” Sen. Ossoff said. “That’s why I brought Republicans and Democrats together to pass my Prison Camera Reform Act, which has passed Congress and is on its way to the President’s desk.”

Sen. Ossoff introduced the bill last year with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA). The bill passed the U.S. Senate last fall.

“Criminal justice reform includes ensuring that the health and safety of incarcerated people and BOP staff is a top priority. Updating the communications systems and security cameras in prisons is a commonsense step toward maintaining safe facilities by deterring abuse and misconduct,” said Durbin. “I’m grateful that the bipartisan Prison Camera Reform Act passed Congress, and I urge President Biden to sign the legislation swiftly to help bring BOP facilities into the 21st century.”

The bill’s passage comes one day after Sen. Ossoff unveiled the results of his 8-month bipartisan PSI investigation into sexual abuse of women in Federal prisons, which revealed that the Federal Bureau of Prisons has failed to prevent, detect, and stop recurring sexual abuse by its own employees. 

Survivors of sexual abuse in Federal prisons testified at Sen. Ossoff’s PSI’s hearing yesterday that BOP employees assaulted them in areas where they knew there was no camera coverage. 

The Department of Justice’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, also testified that outdated and broken prison cameras have hindered prosecution of serious cases involving assault and civil rights violations. 

Horowitz called on Congress to pass Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan bill, noting in his testimony that “action by the BOP on its camera deficiencies is absolutely critical to the BOP’s ability to ensure the safety and security of its institutions for inmates as well as its employees.”

The bill requires BOP to upgrade prison camera systems to ensure the secure storage, logging, preservation, and accessibility of recordings for future investigators pursuing allegations of misconduct, abuse, or other criminal activity in prisons, including the flow of dangerous contraband.

Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan bill has the strong backing of the Council of Prison Locals, which represents more than 30,000 BOP employees, as well as other key civil rights groups.

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