Newsroom: Press Releases
Lautenberg Letter Requests Bureau of Prisons Investigation of Halfway Houses
NJ Senator Calls For Review After New York Times Investigation Reveals Dangerous Conditions At FacilitiesLautenberg Press Office 202-224-3224
Monday, July 02, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) released a letter sent last week to Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr., requesting a thorough review of BOP contracts with halfway houses and reentry facilities. The letter follows an extensive 10-month investigation by the New York Times that found an alarming lack of oversight and dangerous conditions at halfway houses in New Jersey, leading to safety concerns surrounding communities.
"While the goals of reentry programs are commendable, I am troubled that the implementation of these programs puts residents, staffers, and local communities at risk," the letter said. "I request that the Federal Bureau of Prisons carefully examine its contracts with companies that provide reentry services and investigate the conditions at these facilities to ensure they are safe and secure."
The full letter is below and can be viewed here: http://www.lautenberg.senate.gov/assets/prisons.pdf
June 26, 2012
320 First St., NW
Dear Director Samuels:
In the wake of extremely disturbing news reports detailing high rates of escapes and dangerous conditions, I write regarding my deep concerns about the security at halfway houses and similar residential reentry facilities across the United States. I ask that the Federal Bureau of Prisons conduct a thorough review of its contracts with these houses to ensure the safety of residents in surrounding communities and the workers and inmates at the facilities themselves.
The New York Times recently conducted a 10-month investigation of New Jersey halfway houses. The investigation exposed alarming numbers of escapes from these facilities, endangering local communities in my state. Some of these escapes have led to horrific crimes against innocent people in New Jersey. Furthermore, the investigation detailed rampant violence and drug use in the facilities, repeated instances of violent criminals being assigned to these centers, understaffed and untrained workers, and unmet promises of rehabilitation and support services. In addition, the report revealed very little oversight of the halfway houses, which continue to receive large government contracts.
It is my understanding that the Federal Bureau of Prisons contracts with residential reentry centers like those discussed in the New York Times investigation, including one facility in New Jersey. While the goals of reentry programs are commendable, I am troubled that the implementation of these programs puts residents, staffers, and local communities at risk.
I request that the Federal Bureau of Prisons carefully examine its contracts with companies that provide reentry services and investigate the conditions at these facilities to ensure they are safe and secure. Thank you for your assistance on this pressing matter.