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Prison Fellowship Praises U.S. House of Representatives for Passing the Federal Prison Oversight Act

Washington, D.C., May 21, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Prison Fellowship, the nation’s largest Christian nonprofit serving currently and formerly incarcerated people and their families and a leading advocate for criminal justice reform, commends the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Federal Prison Oversight Act (H.R.3019 | S. 1401). Led by Congresswoman Lucy McBath (D-GA) and Congressman Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), the bipartisan bill will create new tools for regular independent oversight of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Senators Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Mike Braun (R-IN) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) currently lead the companion bill in the Senate.

“We wholeheartedly support the passing of this bill by the House and urge the Senate to do the same, as it will dramatically improve accountability and security in our nation’s prisons,” said Heather Rice-Minus, president and CEO of Prison Fellowship. “For too long, federal prisons have been shrouded in darkness, and we look forward to the day when health, safety and restoration are prioritized for everyone living within prison walls.”

“The Bureau of Prisons has failed to consistently provide a humane environment for staff and people in its custody. We must expect more of our public institutions,” said Kate Trammell, Prison Fellowship’s vice president of legal and advocacy. “Today, the House of Representatives sent a clear message of support for a more transparent and responsible federal prison system. We hope to see similar action by the U.S. Senate soon.”

Under intense scrutiny from various government and watchdog agencies, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) incarcerates over 150,000 men and women with a budget of more than $8 billion. In 2023, management of the BOP was added to the GAO’s list of high-risk government programs “vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement or in need of transformation”.

The Federal Prison Oversight Act (H.R.3019 | S. 1401) would require regular inspections of BOP facilities with an accompanying risk score report that would produce accountability actions by the BOP. The bill also creates an independent Ombudsman office to investigate allegations of unhealthy prison conditions for staff or prisoners. If the Ombudsman believes that a health, safety, welfare, working condition, or rehabilitation issue at a BOP facility remains unaddressed, it will report those findings to the Attorney General and to Congress. The bill includes confidentiality and non-retaliation protections to promote reporting and permit independent review.

Prison Fellowship
Prison Fellowship is the nation's largest Christian nonprofit equipping the Church to serve currently and formerly incarcerated people and their families, and to advocate for justice and human dignity both inside and outside of prison. With nearly 50 years of experience helping restore men and women behind bars, Prison Fellowship advocates for federal and state criminal justice reforms that transform those responsible for crime, validate victims, and encourage communities to play a role in creating a safe, redemptive, and just society.

Interviews are available by contacting Susan Merriman at 303.775.2634 or

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Susan Merriman
Prison Fellowship