Van Drew Relaunches the Bureau of Prisons Reform Caucus

May 16, 2024 — Representative Van Drew (R-NJ) along with Representative Cartwright (D-PA) announced the relaunch of the bipartisan Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Reform Caucus. Joined by 12 other members of Congress, this caucus is committed to addressing the issues plaguing our federal prison system, such as understaffing, poor working conditions, and staff retention. The BOP Reform Caucus will address these issues head-on to advocate for policies that aim to improve the overall effectiveness of the BOP workforce. 

“I am pleased to announce the launch of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Reform Caucus,” said Rep. Van Drew. “With Federal Corrective Institute Fairton in my own district, I have seen firsthand the pressing need for comprehensive reform to our federal prison system. The conditions and practices within these institutions often fall short of our nation’s standards and can lead to dangerous working conditions for the men and women who serve as correctional officers. I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to bring about meaningful change to this system and together, we can build a more secure prison system that upholds the highest of standards for guards and staff who serve in our correctional facilities every day.”

“As Ranking Member of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Bureau of Prisons, I am proud to champion solutions to address problems that are plaguing the BOP and our brave correctional officers,” said Rep. Cartwright. “This coalition of Democrats and Republicans will work together to help solve longstanding issues, like the chronic staffing shortages at BOP facilities including USP Canaan in my district.”

“As the Representative of the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Ray Brook, I am proud to join my colleagues as a member of the Bureau of Prisons Reform Caucus to address the significant challenges our hardworking correctional officers are facing such as low staffing and retention issues. These law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every single day and I am committed to addressing their staffing, compensation, and retirement issues in Congress,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik.

“Ensuring our prisons have adequate staffing, procedures, and resources is critical to protecting both our public safety officers and those incarcerated at BOP facilities,” said Rep. Carbajal. “Proud to join my colleagues to relaunch the BOP Reform Caucus to make sure we have the forum to support the oversight and accountability necessary to achieve these goals and provide for the health, safety, and security at BOP facilities across the country.”

“I am pleased to be a part of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Reform Caucus and the effort to actively advocate for necessary operational reforms within the BOP,” said Rep. Grothman. “Supporting the welfare of prison guards holds significant importance for me, which is why I introduced the bipartisan BOP Direct-Hire Authority Act last December to address critical staffing shortages within the BOP. I have visited the Federal Correctional Institution in Oxford, Wisconsin several times, where I was provided with firsthand insights into the challenges faced by BOP facilities nationwide. The dedicated correctional officers at FCI Oxford demonstrate professionalism and have invaluable institutional knowledge. As their representative in Washington, it is my duty to listen to their feedback and actively pursue solutions to improve their work environment and other BOP facilities nationwide.”

“I am proud to be a member of the BOP Reform Caucus, and I look forward to working with colleagues on the caucus to enhance the working conditions of the brave law enforcement professionals tasked with safeguarding Bureau of Prisons facilities,” said Rep. D’Esposito. “As a retired NYPD Detective, I will always fight for the men and women of law enforcement for as long as I serve on Capitol Hill.”

“The crisis of chronic understaffing at the Federal Bureau of Prisons is a major problem in my district and across the nation,” said Rep. Weber. “I am proud to join the BOP Reform Caucus to advocate for solutions to tackle issues that have burdened the BOP and our correctional officers for far too long.”

“The relaunch of the Congressional BOP Reform Caucus is a significant effort to enhance America’s prison system,” said Rep. Meuser. “Effective congressional oversight is crucial in tackling staffing shortages, retention concerns, and safety issues facing our federal prisons. It’s essential to provide our correctional facilities with the proper resources to perform their duties safely and efficiently. This bipartisan caucus seeks to promote a more secure federal prison system that more effectively and safely serves inmates, staff, and society at large.”

“I am happy to join this caucus that protects and supports BOP staff and communities that put themselves on the front-line,” said Rep. Bacon. “In addition, we will look at legislation that reduces recidivism to further protect constituents and allow inmates their best chance at reentry into life.”

Brandy Moore White, National President of the National Council of Prison Locals 33, also voiced her support for the caucus: “This initiative is a crucial step toward addressing systematic issues within the federal prison system and fostering meaningful reform that will improve conditions for staff and inmates and enhance public safety. I have witnessed firsthand the myriad challenges faced by the BOP. Issues such as understaffing, inadequate and non-competitive pay, and crumbling institutions are pervasive. The formation of the BOP Reform Caucus is not only timely but essential. By addressing these challenges, we can create a more just and humane correctional system that aligns with our nation’s values of fairness, rehabilitation, and second chances. I commend the efforts of the lawmakers and advocates spearheading this initiative and offer my full support.”Don Williams, President of Voices of JOE, said in support of the caucus: “Voices of JOE, a law enforcement advocacy group, strongly supports Congressman Van Drew and Congressman Cartwright in their taking leadership roles of the bi-partisan Prison Reform Caucus. The problems facing the safety of our Federal Corrections Officers are multi-faceted and require the attention and sustained action of a group of legislators dedicated to the well-being of those who place themselves in harms way on a daily basis. Only through this type of concerted effort on the part of dedicated legislators will there be an effective and positive outcome regarding these safety issues.”