Congressional Republicans want more oversight over the Bureau of Prisons, which they feel is out of control. And they want to start by having the BOP’s Director appointed by the President only after a Senate confirmation hearing and vote.
WASHINGTON (WKYT/CBS) - The same day President Barack Obama announced he wanted to reform the criminal justice system, Kentucky's U.S. Senators filed a bill that aims to add a Congressional oversight to the Bureau of Prisons.
The senators filed The Federal Prisons Accountability Act of 2015 Thursday. The bill would require the Director of the Bureau of Prisons to be appointed by the President with "the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate."
Senator McConnell's office said in a press release the Senate should have oversight on the BOP director because the organization administers the Federal Prisons Industries program, which they claimed competes with private sector industry.
"...the director of the Bureau of Prisons has significant budget authority over taxpayer dollars without confirmation by the U.S. Senate." said Senator McConnell.
The move comes after President Obama met with inmates at the El Reno Facility in Oklahoma on Thursday, making him the first president in U.S. history to visit a federal correctional facility.
Earlier this week, Obama turned his attention to criminal justice reform and prison conditions.
On Tuesday, he addressed the 106th NAACP Convention in Philadelphia, where he said the U.S. "can't close our eyes anymore" to inequities in the criminal justice system. He also ordered the Justice Department to review the overuse of solitary confinement and said problems like overcrowding and prison gangs demand more attention.
Earlier this week, he commuted the sentences of 46 non-violent drug offenders.
"The difference is that they did not have the kinds of support structures, the second chances, the resources that would allow them to survive those mistakes," Obama told reporters. "I think we have a tendency sometimes to almost take for granted or think it's normal that so many young people end up in our criminal justice system. It's not normal. It's not what happens in other countries."