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FEDERAL PRISON SYSTEM
STATEMENT OF NORMAN A. CARLSON, DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF
OPENING REMARKS OF SENATOR PASTORE Senator PASTORE. I am going to ask for a rundown on the public witnesses who will testify on this matter of Federal prison construction.
Is Reverend Stinson here?
Senator PASTORE. Last July 24 the Senate report accompanying the fiscal year 1976 Justice Department Appropriation bill carried the following passage.
“There has been some question about the capacities of Federal prison facilities and whether they are being fully utilized. The House Appropriations Committee has indicated its intent to review this matter thoroughly, and at the present time has passed over without prejudice the request for construction funds for a northeast adult facility and planning site acquisition funds for a south central adult facility, pending the outcome of such review.
“The committee is informed that the General Accounting Office is also investigating this matter. Consequently, the committee has concurred in the House action and for the present time has passed over without prejudice the request for new construction until the GAO has had an opportunity to file its report."
Now we have before us the same problem. We have the first witness, Mr. Carlson, who is the Director of Prisons. Then we will hear from all of the public witnesses.
PREPARED STATEMENT Mr. CARLSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a prepared statement which has been turned in to the staff director. With your concurrence, I would like to introduce it into the record, and summarize very briefly.
Senator PASTORE. All right. Without objection, it is so ordered. [The statement follows:]
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Federal Prison System
STATEMENT OF NORMAN A. CARLSON, DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF PRISONS
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I welcome the opportunity to
appear today to support the fiscal year 1977 budget for the Federal Bureau of
Prisons that requests a total of $304, 127,000 and 8,296 positions. Apart from
our request in the appropriation "Buildings and Facilities," the only major
new initiative is the National Institute of Corrections, which was established
by Congress under Title V of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Act of 1974.
Mr. Chairman, the Bureau's 1977 budget request focuses on three major
Reducing the overcrowding currently existing in Federal institutions
- Moving toward the eventual replacement of the large, antiquated
penitentiaries at McNeil Island, Washington; At lanta, Georgia; and
Providing critically needed detention facilities for offenders
awaiting trial before the U. S. District Courts in Detroit, Michigan
and in the State of Arizona.
If I may, Mr. Chairman, I would first like to deal with the issue of
When I appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee
in February of this year, I indicated that critical overcrowding in the insti
tutions was the most serious problem that the Bureau faced.
At that time
the Federal Bureau of Prisons' institutional population, 25,600, had reached
an all-time high. The population has continued to increase rapidly and now
stands at 26,848, an increase of 3,663 over one year ago. Excluding the
increases resulting from activation of the new Metropolitan Correctional Centers
in Chicago and San Diego, this represents an increase of 3,205 over last year.
Nationwide, prison populations have soared in the past year, reversing a 12-year trend of decreasing population. The January 1, 1976 total of 249,538 inmates is nearly 24,000 higher than the population one year ago.
The recent population increase in the Federal System (see Attachment 1)
follows a brief period of decline during the middle of fiscal 1975. This
decline resulted primarily from the release of Selective Service violators
under the Presidential clemency program and the granting of parole to drug
offenders not previously eligible, pursuant to P.L. 93-481, enacted by the
Congress on October 26, 1974.
In analyzing the recent increase, we find that the following key indicators
which occurred during 1975
- Criminal filings in U. S. District Courts
up nine percent over
Number of criminal defendants - up 1,200 or 2.5 percent over
- Criminal convictions - up 1,200 or 3.3 percent over 1974
Average sentence of total confined population
up 5.6 months,
from 93.4 months in 1974 to 99 months in 1975
These key factors combined with actual experience in recent months indi
cate that the institutional population will continue to increase during the
next fiscal year.
During the past year, there have been questions raised concerning insti
Unfortunately, the concept of overcrowding has been given
various meanings. The Bureau has one basic measure of overcrowding. This is
the level of population institutions should house under favorable circumstances.
This capacity is called "Physical Capacity" and is shown as 22,484 in Attachment
4. "Physical Capacity" is based on standards
- developed and advocated by the
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Offenders, the American
Correctional Association, the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals for eliminating overcrowding and undesirable housing and
to provide an element of privacy for inmates and an acceptable level of safety
for both staff and inmates.
While these are long range goals and are many years away from being
achieved, we base the definition of "Physical Capacity" on the following criteria:
One person in a single occupancy cell
A minimum of 45 square feet per person in multiple occupancy cells,
although this allowance is substantially below current standards for
- Including only specifically designed housing areas, thus excluding
most medical and segregation space, administrative detention space and
inadequate housing areas such as renovated shower facilities, corridors