Prison Fellowship®, the nation’s largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, released the following statement after a press conference on Capitol Hill calling for passage of the Federal Prison Oversight Act (S. 1014 | H.R. 3019) from Representative Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) and Lucy McBath (D-GA). This bill would create new tools for regular external oversight of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The legislation comes in response to multiple institutional challenges facing the BOP documented by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the United States Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
“With close to 50 years of experience working behind bars, Prison Fellowship has experienced firsthand how treating people with dignity can have a transformative impact on prison culture, incarcerated individuals, and correctional leader and officer well-being,” said James Ackerman, President and CEO at Prison Fellowship. “Over many years, the Bureau of Prisons has faced persistent challenges with facility safety, gaps in impactful rehabilitative programming, and poor working and living conditions. We applaud Representative Armstrong and McBath’s leadership on the Federal Prison Oversight Act and their work to create independent review and reporting structures that support this key agency in advancing rehabilitation and public safety.”
“Those living behind bars are often forgotten by the world, but the Gospel exhorts us to remember them as if we were there with them,” said Heather Rice-Minus, Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Prison Fellowship. “External federal prison oversight will bring urgent daylight and clearer understanding of BOP conditions, facilities, and programming. We thank Representatives Armstrong and McBath for pushing forward this legislation to help the federal prison system better live out its critical mission and equip its staff for professional success and transformational leadership.”