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By these criteria, Mr. Chairman, Bureau institutions are presently over
crowded by 19 percent or nearly 4,365 inmates.
Internally, we also use an
operational concept of capacity on which we base daily decision-making for
designating and transferring inmates.
This is a relative measure of the number
of inmates institutions can house to accommodate' the actual population on any day
and is referred to as "Operating Capacity," shown as 25,355 in Attachment 4.
I should point out, that this figure includes double bunking and utilizing areas
that are far from ideal.
Unfortunately, the House Appropriations Committee Staff report submitted in
August 1975, has led to the erroneous conclusion that Bureau institutions have
excess capacity of 3,800 beds.
At the time of the Committee Staff survey, the
Bur eau did in fact have approximately 3,800 beds set up over and above its total
Inmate population. Nearly 2,000 of these beds, however, were in segregation,
administrative detention and hospital space, or for inmates who were on short-term
furlough and would soon be returning to the institution.
Effective management of
correctional institutions requires that space be available for hospitalization,
to separate offenders who present serious disciplinary problems and for those who
are temporarily absent from the institution for short periods of time.
remaining beds were set up in areas not designed for housing because of the
necessity to accommodate incoming population which in some institutions fluctuates
A recent General Accounting Office report to Congress (entitled "Federal
Construction Plans Should Be Better Developed and Supported") indicated that
inadequate and often uncoordinated data between various elements of the Criminal
Justice System hampers the effectiveness of Bureau planning efforts. However,
the report indicated a need for new facilities, given the apparent overcrowding
Let me say that I have no quarrel with those who are disenchanted with the
effectiveness of the criminal justice system, corrections in particular.
incarceration is and will continue to be a reality for many years to come.
is ironic to witness the injustice to incarcerated offenders caused by individuals
who, while carrying inmates' rights as their banner, zealously work to deny
inmates their right to decent and humane living conditions.
Mr. Chairman, I testified before a House Judiciary Subcommittee on July 30,
1975 that the Bureau of Prisons' facilities development program was vital to the
elimination of overcrowding in institutions.
I also testified that we projected
closing of the U. S. Penitentiary, McNeil Island, Washington during 1979, the
U. S. Penitentiary, Atlanta, Georgia in 1983, and the U. S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth,
Kansas in 1985.
As I indicated at that time, this projection was predicated on
the assumption that there would be no dramatic increase in the inmate population
and that there would be continued Congressional support for the Bureau's
We are already behind in achieving these goals, primarily
because of the recent upsurge in institutional population, and I urge this
Committee to respond favorably to the fiscal year 1977 request for the Federal
Bureau of Prisons.
Mr. Chairman, two years ago, we testified before this Committee the need
for an additional adult correctional facility in the Northeastern area of the
United States because of the population pressures on existing facilities in that
The Congress subsequently appropriated $1.5 million for site acquisition
and design of a facility for 500 offenders.
The need for this facility is even greater today than it was when we
initially made the request.
Institution overcrowding in the Northeast Region
is currently 19 percent. Existing institutions at Danbury, Connecticut and
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania are overcrowded by more than 30 percent.
more than 1,400 offenders with legal residence in the Northeast region are now
confined in institutions outside the area.
We are requesting $21.7 million in
fiscal year 1977 to build this urgently needed facility, which will permit us
to reduce critical overcrowding at the United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg,
Pennsylvania, and the Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury, Connecticut,
and to move offenders from institutions in other regions who have residence in
the area closer to their homes.
The requested institution will provide a safe, humane environment for
A wide variety of program options will be offered including academic
and vocational/occupational education, individual and group counseling, career
guidance and development of employment skills.
Plans also include development
of an appropriate industrial project by Federal Prison Industries, Inc.
Initially, we had hoped to locate the institution near New York City and
worked closely with local authorities in efforts to locate a suitable site.
After extensive surveys, we concluded that sites in or immediately adjacent to
New York City were unavailable.
We have, however, identified a site in Otisville,
New York which is approximately 70 miles from New York City, and New York State
officials have declared their intent to sell the property to the Federal
The distance between Otisville and New York City is not considered
excessive and commerical transportation is readily available.
We are also requesting $16,535,000 to construct the third of the complex
of three youth institutions planned in the Southeastern region.
appropriated $2.5 million in 1973 for site acquisition and design of this complex
This institution is designed to serve 400 youthful offenders
between the ages of 18 and 26.
In addition to fulfilling the requirement for
youthful offenders in the Southeast, the availability of this facility will permit
the total conversion of the Federal Correctional Institution at Ashland, Kentucky
to an adult institution, an important step in our longer range goal of closing
the antiquated Atlanta Penitentiary.
The projection of closing Atlanta was
partly contingent on our ability to obtain construction funds for this facility
in fiscal year 1977.
We have obtained a site in Talladega, Alabama and are
prepared to commence design and construction if and when construction funds are
Mr. Chairman, the third major thrust of this budget request is in response
to critical jail problems in several areas of the country.
State and local
contract facilities have become non-existent in the Detroit, Michigan area.
Federal detainees have been removed from the Wayne County Jail because of severe
overcrowding and exorbitant costs.
Further, Federal detainees are no longer
being accepted at the Oakland County, Michigan Jail because of severe overcrowding
in that institution.
With no abatement in the detention caseload in the Detroit
area, averaging in excess of 100 detainees daily, we have found it necessary to
convert a portion of the Federal Correctional Institution at Milan, Michigan to
serve as a temporary jail.
This represents neither a permanent nor an effective
remedy to the problem, primarily because it is located over 40 miles from Detroit.
This distance presents problems to the courts, to the defense counsel and to
the U. S. Attorneys..
In view of these factors, we are requesting $2.8 million for site acquisition
and design of a 300 bed Metropolitan Correctional Center to be located in Detroit, Michigan.
This facility, similar to those recently constructed in San Diego,
New York and Chicago, will serve the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District
of Michigan by providing housing for study and observation cases referred by the
courts, for persons awaiting trial and sentencing, and for offenders serving short
We are also requesting $2.7 million for site acquisition and design of a
Metropolitan Correctional Center of 400 beds to be located in either Phoenix
or Tucson, Arizona.
Both Phoenix and Tucson are rapidly growing metropolitan
areas with an expanding Federal detention caseload averaging approximately 345
daily - 170 in Phoenix and 195 in Tucson.
There are few available detention
The Federal Detention Center at Florence, Arizona initially designed
to house 75 offenders, has been accommodating a daily population averaging 120.
Many court-ordered study cases must be transferred to California, Colorado, Texas
and Missouri, at added cost and delay.
This proposed facility will provide for
urgently needed capacity for persons awaiting trial in Arizona, for study cases
referred by the courts, and for those offenders who are serving short-term
It is premature at this time to specify the location of this facility.
The site will be determined later, after an analysis of Federal detainee case
loads and other pertinent factors.
Mr. Chairman, I have discussed at length the critical need for these four
new facilities, which are designed to alleviate the overcrowding in institutions,
to permit the eventual closing of antiquated penitentiaries, and finally, to make
an effective response to the critical lack of jail capacity for Federal detainees.
I consider these to be the most important problems the Bureau faces, and,
with the continued support of the Congress we will be able to deal with them
effectively. This concludes my formal statement, Mr.
I would be
pleased to answer any questions you and members of the Committee may have.