Broken security cameras in US prisons targeted by senators’ bill | National policy


By MICHAEL BALSAMO Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – Failed security cameras in federal prisons allowed inmates to escape undetected and were the focus of investigation when wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide behind bars in 2019. Now lawmakers want to force the Bureau of Prisons to repair and upgrade security systems.

“Blind spots, lost footage and technical failures are unacceptable in federal prisons, which must be cleaned and maintained to the highest standards,” said Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., Who presented a report on Wednesday. Biparty legislation requiring the office and Department of Justice to ensure that there is adequate coverage by security cameras in the agency’s 122 federal prisons.

Ossoff, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin and Senator Chuck Grassley, the panel’s top Republican, say problems with the cameras – which sometimes don’t work or are not recorded too frequently – make it difficult for authorities to properly investigate allegations of misconduct.

The legislation, known as the Prison Camera Reform Act of 2021, would require the Bureau of Prisons to assess its security camera, radio and public address systems and submit a report to Congress within 90 days detailing the shortcomings and a plan. to implement the necessary upgrade. This would require upgrades within three years and annual progress reports to lawmakers.

Durbin, D-Ill., Said the bill “would bring our facilities into the 21st century while helping us achieve our goal of creating safer conditions for people in correctional facilities.” Grassley, R-Iowa, said the measure “would help ensure safety, security and accountability in federal prisons for correctional officers and inmates.”

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