Bill forcing feds to fix prison cameras is signed into law

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a bill calling on the Federal Prison Service to overhaul its outdated security systems. After staff sexual abuse is rampant, an inmate escapes, and a high-profile death occurs, you fix a broken surveillance camera.

The Bipartisan Prison Camera Reform Bill Passed by the Senate and House of Representatives on Dec. 14 Last Yearcalls on the Bureau of Prisons to evaluate and enhance security cameras, radios and public address systems at its 122 facilities.

Agencies must submit a report to Congress within three months detailing any deficiencies and plans to make the necessary upgrades. These upgrades must be made within his three years, and the department must submit an annual progress report to legislators.

“Broken prison camera systems are enabling corruption, fraud, and abuse,” said Senator John Ossoff, D-Ga, who sponsored the bill. “That’s why I got Republicans and Democrats together to pass the Prison Camera Reform Act, which is now law.”

“We thank Senator Ossoff and other members of Congress and the President of the United States for their efforts and support,” the prison service said in a statement.

Broken or Inadequate Security Cameras Help Inmates Flee from Federal Prisons, Hindering InvestigationsThey have been issues of inmate deaths, including the death of financier Jeffrey Epstein in New York City’s federal prison in 2019.

Department of Justice internal observers found security camera flaws undermining investigations into staff misconduct, the introduction of contraband, civil rights violations, and inmate deaths.

The Associated Press reported in March that security cameras were not installed in key areas. Staff sexually abused inmates at the Federal Women’s Prison in Dublin, California.

When introducing the camera bill last year, Ossoff said blind spots, lost footage and technical failures were unacceptable. He said federal prisons “must be cleaned up and kept to the highest standards.”

The bill was supported by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), leader of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and top Republican Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Fred Keller and Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath introduced the House version of the bill.

The Prison Local Council, a federal corrections union, also endorsed the action. Union president Shane Forsey said upgrading cameras and other systems would go a long way to “further increasing the level of security in our country’s federal prisons.”

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