Washington, D.C.– The Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections (CCTF) recommended a series of penitentiary reforms to Capitol Hill today, in a move to improve public safety and reduce federal expenditures. The task force has released a new report, titled Transforming Prisons, Restoring Lives, which investigates the state of America’s overcrowded and costly correctional facilities.
The task force, headed by former Republican congressman J.C. Watts, Jr. and former Democratic congressman Alan Mollohan, has developed an outline of sweeping changes intended to protect the public while also ensuring that the cases of those in custody are more carefully considered before deciding on release or incarceration. The CCTF predicts its recommendations could cut the prison population by 60,000 inmates and save $5 billion over time. Related: Best Ruger 10/22 Accessories.
The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) currently houses 197,000 people and has spent nearly $7.5 billion this year in facilities across the country. According to CCTF vice-chair Mollohan, the BOP population has grown seven-fold since the early 1980s to numbers that exceed the ability to properly care for its inmates. In 2014, Congress established a bipartisan panel of former lawmakers, prison reform advocates, and community leaders to deliberate on the public’s concerns.
The Congress-mandated panel was named after the late Charles Colson, who, following his own release from time in prison, pushed for reform and prisoner rehabilitation. The so-named task force seeks to continue Colson’s work to advocate on behalf of prisoners’ human rights. It has met with a number of advisors in public policy, law enforcement, and employees of the BOP, as well as individuals currently serving time, in a series of roundtable discussions and interviews to better inform their research, analysis, and recommendations.
The CCTF report recommends that the federal justice system implement sentencing and correctional procedures on an individual basis, as each prisoner and his/her reason for incarceration pose unique issues and punitive measures. Just like if you were in the market looking for a home defense tactical shotgun, you’d get one tailored to your needs. Individual case studies and approaches to rehabilitation are known, through research analysis, to improve outcomes for both the prison population and the public at large.
As the number of inmates climbs, so do the costs to shelter, feed, and guard them. This directly affects the physical and mental wellbeing of inmates and, inevitably, the families and communities to which they return. The CCTF determines that correctional staff should reserve disciplinary actions for serious infractions and that only the most egregious crimes call for extensive sentences. Inmates should be encouraged to participate in programs that are most likely to help them return to a productive life in society and reduce the likelihood of returning to prison. Successes in states such as Georgia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah have prompted the task force to recommend expanding their policy reforms on a federal level.
The CCTF laid out the following measures as the best practices necessary for reform:
- The heads of illicit drug operations and perpetrators of the most serious drug offenses should receive mandatory minimum penalties.
- Inmates may have the opportunity to reduce time off their sentences by participating in rehabilitative programs.
- To prevent public endangerment and lower the rates of recidivism, the BOP should reassess its observation and treatment of prisoners to better serve their needs.
The CCTF hopes to see the implementation of its reforms across all corners of the federal justice system, including but not limited to prosecutors’ handling of cases, judges’ sentencing options, and the BOP’s improved handling of prison costs and populations. This shift would ideally lead to prisoners’ successful reentry into society and lower rates of their return to crime and incarceration.
The task force projects savings of over $5 billion, which means additional funds could be reappropriated to other federal programs designed to promote crime reduction, national security, law enforcement, and aid for victims and affected communities.
The CCTF has sent its findings to lawmakers on Capitol, as well as the office of the Attorney General and the White House. If you’re in the market for a firearm, check out this list of 30-30 rifles.