|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
Wednesday, August 5, 1998
Washington, D.C. – Last night the House approved an amendment authored by U. S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH) requiring a federal study of prison privatization in the United States. The amendment was approved during House consideration of legislation appropriating funds for the U.S. Department of Justice. "The ongoing problems at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown should serve as a wake up call to the nation," said Traficant. "We need to identify possible security and personnel shortfalls at private prisons, and effectively address them. A comprehensive federal study will serve this purpose."
Last night the House was considering legislation appropriating funds in fiscal year 1999 for the U.S. Departments of Commerce, State and Justice. Traficant's amendment, which was approved on a voice vote, directs the federal Bureau of Prisons (a unit of the Justice Department) to conduct a study of private prisons in the U.S. The study will evaluate the growth and development of the private prison industry during the past 15 years, training qualifications of private prison personnel, and the security procedures at private prisons. The study will also compare the general standards and conditions at private prisons with those at federal prisons. The study must be submitted to the appropriate oversight committees in the House and Senate within nine months of enactment of the bill.
Later this week, Traficant intends to offer an amendment to the fiscal year 1999 District of Columbia Appropriations bill to strengthen the screening process for inmates sent to the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center to ensure that only low and medium security inmates are sent to the facility. The prison is run by Corrections Corporation of America. The facility house inmates from the D.C. prison system, which has been plagued for years with overcrowding. Last year, Congress ordered the District of Columbia to gradually close its main prison in Lorton, Virginia over the next several years. The bulk of D.C. prison population will eventually be housed in the federal prison system.2009