|TRAFICANT, James A., Jr.,|
Monday, November 2, 1998
Youngstown, Ohio – The $500 billion omnibus spending bill approved by
Congress and signed into law last month includes several provisions authored
by U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant, Jr. (D–OH), including a provision requiring
a privately-run prison in Youngstown to accept only low to medium security
prisoners using federal classification guidelines. Other Traficant-sponsored
provisions in the bill include a federal study of private prisons across
the country, a Pentagon report on improving the military's anti-drug activities,
and a provision to expand the number of street cops deployed with federal
The fiscal year 1999 omnibus appropriations bill encompasses eight of the 13 regular appropriations bills, supplemental emergency appropriations, extension of several expiring tax credits, and a number of other measures. All of the Traficant-sponsored provisions in the bill are now law.
The first Traficant provision cuts off funds to the District of Columbia's government if it transfers any prisoners classified above the medium security level to the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown. The provision also requires the D.C. Department of Corrections to use the same inmate classification system as the federal Bureau of Prisons. Traficant originally attached this language to the House-passed version of the fiscal year 1999 D.C. appropriations bill.
Traficant added another provision to the omnibus bill which directs the federal Bureau of Prisons to conduct a study of the private prison industry in America over the past 15 years. The study will examine training qualifications of private prison personnel, security procedures at private prisons, and compare general standards and conditions between private prisons and federal prisons. The results of the study must be submitted to Congress within the next nine months. Traficant originally attached this provision to the House-passed version of the fiscal year 1999 Department of Justice appropriations bill.
The omnibus appropriations bill incorporates most of the text of the House-passed Western Hemisphere Drug Elimination Act. While the omnibus bill does not contain a Traficant-sponsored rider authorizing the expanded use of U.S. military troops in drug interdiction efforts that was attached to the drug elimination measure, it does include compromise language on the issue. The omnibus bill includes a provision requiring the Pentagon to submit a report to Congress by January 31, 1999 examining and proposing organizational changes to optimize the military's anti-drug activities, including alternative cost sharing arrangements of Joint Task Force 6 in El Paso, Texas. The latter is a special unit of the military that assists federal law enforcement in drug interdiction along the U.S.-Mexico border. The omnibus bill also includes a sense of the Congress provision urging the Pentagon to make the international drug interdiction and counter-drug activities of the military a higher operational priority.
Finally, the omnibus bill includes a Traficant-authored provision requiring local governments that accept federal COPS grants to hire additional police officers to show a net increase in the number of street cops. This provision is identical to a bill Traficant introduced last year that the House approved last month. The purpose of the bill is to ensure that federal COPS grants are used by local police departments to actually expand the number of officers patrolling the streets -- instead of simply replacing street cops assigned to desk or administrative duty.2009