Michael Horowitz, the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Justice, issued a report which examines a range of issues in the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Justice Department, including civil rights enforcement, cyber security, management and law enforcement oversight, reported the Birmingham News.
Despite the fact that the inmate population dropped for the first time in decades, however, Horowitz noted that current projections indicate that prisons will be 38 percent over capacity by fiscal year 2018 - higher than today.
The $6.9 billion budget for the Bureau of Prisons in fiscal year 2014 was 25 percent of the Justice Department's discretionary spending, up from 18 percent in fiscal year 2010. The prison system has the most employees of any agency within the Justice Department, including the FBI, and is second only to the FBI in spending.
"First and foremost, the BOP must pursue strategies to reduce prison overcrowding," the report states. "It must also provide effective oversight of privately managed contract prison facilities, reduce the incidence of inmate sexual abuse, and prevent the smuggling of weapons and contraband into prison."
Sentencing reform advocates seized on the report as evidence that the federal government must do more to prevent long incarcerations of nonviolent criminals.
"Overcrowded federal prisons stuffed with nonviolent drug offenders are not only a waste of money, but eating away at public safety funding for other divisions within the DOJ," Families Against Mandatory Minimums counsel Molly Gill said in a prepared statement. "Building more prisons is not the answer, and back-end fixes like compassionate release, clemency, and expansion of earned time credits can only do so much. Reforming mandatory minimum sentences is cheaper, safer, and smarter than every other option on the table."
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