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tv   Hearing on Federal Prison System  CSPAN  January 31, 2022 1:57am-4:58am EST

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the hearing runs at three hours. >> the subcommittee will come to order. the chair is authorized for recess of the committee at any time. good morning and welcome to today's hearing the first step act the pandemic and compassionate relief, what are the next steps for the federal bureau of prisons? a lecture mind members we have established an e-mail address and distribution list to circulate exhibits, motions or other written materials that members might want to offers part of our hearing today. if you would like to submit materials, please send them to the e-mail address that has been previously distributed to your offices. we will circulate the material to members and staff as quickly as we can.
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i would also like to ask all members to please mute your microphones when you are not speaking for this will help prevent feedback and other technical issues. you may unmute yourself any time you seek recognition. i will not recognize myself for an opening statement. but before i do that, one of our colleagues on the full committee, ms. quinn talk suffered a terrible loss over the holidays, the loss of his wife. i want to offer my deepest sympathy to him and his family. to all of you who work with them, all of us who work with him every day. we are here today to discuss several topics. we are here to focus on the great concern including the first step act so many members on the committee work so hard including the chair of the
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democratic caucus working across the aisle as we all did on that very important initiative. it's a use of compassionate relief or the lack thereof and its response to the covid-19 pandemic. in 2008 team he passed eight landmark piece of legislation the first step act. aimed at transformational sentencing and prison reform at the federal level. it is an exceptional piece of legislation and we must maximize its potential because we are primarily to talk about the next steps for the prisons and focus on the first step act legislation in its commitment to prison reform. which among other mandates create or use a needs assessment to categorize federal prisons as a minimum, low, medium or high risk. based on the resulting assessment federal prisoners can earn time credits to reduce their sentence which could mean early release for halfway house, home
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confinement early release all based upon the ability to re- debilitate and contribute to society probably the subcommittee discussed the risk and needs assessment now known as pattern questions remain first reprieves previously learned on the factors which can never change. such as criminal history in the community where they live before were arrested. knowing communities of color relies on satisfaction results advises against people of color the factors are given in the assessment or otherwise accounted for the presence. i would venture to say many of us on this committee this morning may have known someone who, as we were growing up might have said they are in
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trouble all of the time. but yet we know them now and they are contributing family man or woman as a contributing citizen of the united states. and as a loving person of their community. we know that rehabilitation can work. second, i understand racially results recidivism and people of color and under predict and others. just the two to account for overproduction under production. third, based on 2021 review and revitalization of the first step act risk assessment which is not meant approved by d.o.j. addresses errors that are currently being used. what does this mean for prisoners who risk of being determined now was arguably. lastly just not appear to be on to develop a needs
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assessment tool for gop officials continue to use the same tools they have used for years such as the police investigation report, a document that is prepared solely by u.s. probation and pretrial services officers for sentencing purposes. the independent review committee pursuant to the first step act to assist in the development of the risk and assessment needs tool, identify problems of the needs assessment in their report two years ago. the address concerns raised by the rsv. the plan to develop a needs assessment tool that goes further than the status quo at the first step act is to be successful we have a duty to make sure the needs assessment tool is reliable and unbiased. we want to work with members of congress, this committee to ensure the safety and security of america and those who are incarcerated within the walls. we hope our panel can help us
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better understand the issues that remain invalidating tools often suggestions as to how we can make it work. issuing a rule last week concerning the first step act earned times credit system i was very pleased to see the d.o.j. heard the outcry of advocates, prisoners, family members and several of the subcommittees members including enclosing and choosing to do away with restrictive definition of a day of visitation and calculating how prisoners could earned times credit. as a result of that simple fabrication thousands of prisoners should be released in the coming days and weeks which will reduce the number prisoners reduce the number further spreading covid-19 on these facilities which at this time is raging and ravaging those who are working there as well as those who are incarcerated. let me be very clear this clarification does not pretend to release those who would be
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unsafe in the community. you still have to go to the normal processes. but it will give a greater response to those who are working hard for rehabilitation inside the prison. to respond to the crisis of the impact of the pandemic on federal prison included in the cares act an additional mechanism to loan to release prisoners to home confinement to reduce the prison population and the number of covid infections among prisoners and staff. using overly restricted criteria release thousands of prisoners under the cares act and have not yet re- offended. we are grateful to d.o.j. for reversing the past administration merciless opinion in deciding most of those release will not have to return to custody with the pandemic inns. yet gop still continues to stumble over those who are legitimately able to take advantage of compassionate relief and are still holding individuals, those who have committed nonviolent crimes
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and who are sick. many of those who are sick in the face of a covid-19 breakout are still facing the lack of reviews and assessments of their eligibility. while the ability to release prisoners under the cares act the gop as long possess a statutory authority to request early release and prisons. even in the early stages they're counting those who are already being released to bolster up their numbers of those being released with covid. yet even during the pandemic could not test positive for covid-19 and others died. they failed to technically utilize its authority. what seems to be divine foresight we had a provision the first step act authorized prisoners to quest compassionate relief themselves after meeting certain criteria. that seems to be receiving limited response. according to the census commissioned the first of the pandemic 96% decided in 2020
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that were granted as relief or filed by the prisoner but even in the pandemic worsens remains the same. the sentencing commission released a more detailed report in september of last year that shows just 9% of emotions granted were filed by the directorate covid-19 runs rampant throughout the facility. generate 13th there were 6043 federal prisoners 939 people in the staff he tested positive for covid-19 on january 18 there at 9110 or one of four prisoners 1001 or 50 staff who tested positive for covid-19. ninety-eight facilities level three with the modified upgrade level. from the time the pandemic began until now reports 279 prisoners have died due to covid and seven staff members have died. i'm certain our witnesses will let us know whether these numbers are correct we hope
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will also provide for how they think we can reduce infections and protect prisoners and staff. as operate under staff shortages for many years. the pandemic is only exacerbated the problem. that is something out this committee moving forward to focus on in assisting of their staffing capabilities. the case of jeffrey epstein was in custody on the student half years ago attributed to parts of staffing shortages. i look forward to the pending report from the inspector general and the circumstances surrounding that. i expect the report will have recommendations for all staff at the bureau. my hope this hearing, will take additional steps to make sure it carries out its mission and community-based facilities that are safe in a properly secure and provide
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work and self employment opportunities to assist offenders in becoming law abiding citizens. it is now my pleasure to recognize a distinguished showman from arizona in the ranking member of this committee for his opening statement. you are recognized now. thank you madam chair. i practically think of her calling attention reminding us of the grieving her colleague and friend of california who is a loss of his wife came unexpectedly over the holidays. i appreciate your thoughtfulness. this hearing today will focus largely on postconviction sentencing and confinement. i welcome that discussion. there will be discussions about compassionate relief, all for post convicted individuals. there is also a concern regarding pretrial conditions in which defendants are held.
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our constitutional rights, are they being protected? is everyone receiving the due process regardless for the charge they are pending trial. are they awaiting conclusion or the outcome of their case? and on january 4, i sent chairman nadler a letter requesting a hearing on the treatment of the generous six defendants while in custody of the d.c. jail. i have yet to receive a response from the chairman. it is my position the judiciary committee must investigate the horrific treatment of the generate six defendants. individuals being held the d.c. jail are being punished for exercising constitutional rights while in custody. printers are being held in solitary confinement for meeting with their attorney's brother being forced to spend up to 23 hours a day in solitary confinement. this is received a bipartisan
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rebuke. senator elizabeth warren told the washington examiner and i quote, i do not believe in solitary confinement for extended period of time for anyone". the aclu has objected to the treatment of generally six defendants tammy greg deputy director of the acl national project of the washington examiner quote for long solitary confinement is torture uncertain should not be used as a punitive tool to intimidate or extract corporations. however it does not start or stop with solitary confinement a patient the chairwoman's comments about healthcare, and the prison system. and what we have seen is that individuals that need healthcare have been denied that healthcare. i won't mention a little bit more in a minute. what is interesting about the pretrial attention as most of the individuals that are in the situation have had no
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contact with the criminal justice system previously. we do not pose a flight risk. they meet all federal guidelines for pretrial release had been denied that release. they have been forced into rooms of human feces on the walls. one defendant was subjected to a strip search after meeting with his lawyer. when he asked for quote literature that authorize used scripture under the strip search there were officers refused to answer by the officers handcuffed that individual put up in a dark room with a chair and maced him by the denied medical care including one defendant for non-hodgkin's lymphoma. the treatment was so horrific a federal judge asked the department of justice to investigate the d.c. jail for civil rights abuses", it is clear to me the civil rights of the defendant were violated by the d.c. department of correction". the conditions and joe was so horrendous u.s. marshals
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removed inmates in the jail report they stated the facility did not meet the venom standards of confinement as described in the basic standards for this is all being done to people who are innocent in the eyes of the law. they have yet to be convicted of a crime, but they are being treated as if they have been convicted of a crime. they're being treated worse and anyone who has been convicted of a crime should be treated. when america was still adhere to the principle that you are innocent until proven guilty. fortunately they've been people who've not allow these injustice to go unreported. we have one of those individuals who are this today per judy kelly has brought the horrific treatment of the defendants by the d.c. jail. i highlight something else the charset i appreciate her comments about compassionate release. her comments focusing on
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compassionate release, were directed to folks have been convicted of a crime. but when you meet the federal guidelines are free pretrial release is not compassionate, snoddy process.fair or equitable to be confined in a prison, and a gel with the conditions many of these generate six defendants await the outcomes of their cases. i am glad that we have our witnesses here today. i'm glad we have an opportunity to put these issues on the table. madam chair, i thank you for the time and i yield back to you. >> so ranking member i appreciate for putting these on the table thank you. now it is my privilege to chair recognize the chairman of the full committee the gentleman mr. nadler for his opening statement.
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>> thank you madam chair for holding this important hearing to discuss the limitation of the first step act, however it's a bureau of prisons to respond to the covid in including its compassionate release. let me join in expression of condolences to her colleague mr. mcclintock. three years ago we pass a groundbreaking piece of bipartisan legislation, the first step act of 2018 truly was a step forward in our efforts to reform criminal justice system. that lot reforms in important ways a federal criminal sentencing is a very aspects of the federal court system. these critical provisions are intended to improve federal prison conditions, reduce the federal prison population and reduce recidivism among defendants released in custody
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through evidence-based practices. now all the covid 19 certainly contributed to the delays we should recognize their works plummet this long before the first inmate testified. i am pleased however d.o.j. has not taken significant steps for the implementation of a pattern, the risk a needs assessment tool used to determine inmate eligibility, to participate in programming which can help inmates earn credits towards early release. also completed an assessment of inmates under this tool and a determination of how these credits will be calculated. the biden administration is also made important improvements to the implementation of the first step act. for example, just a few days ago, the administration significantly revise how to calculate invaluable earn time credits using it much more reasonable less stringent formula than previously proposed. the new policy is a potential to lead to the release of
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thousands of inmates who are unlikely to reoffend. i am heartened by this decision many questions remain about whether the pattern tool who chose so much power to determine inmate old ability seek earned time credits is sufficiently validated. look forward to hearing from our witnesses on this important question but we also referred to the troubling response to the covid-19 pandemic and its inability to protect inmates and staff adequately. since a pandemic began more than 50000 inmates have been infected with covid-19. this month and just a five-day span more than 3000 more inmates in our federal prison system testified and two more inmates died from complications due to coded bringing the total number of inmate deaths from the virus 279. the number of staff members to
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dive covid-19 remains at seven. although that seven is seven to many. these numbers are quite frightening. we must do more to protect individuals in custody. individuals who are placed in our care particularly those at high risk of severe covid-19 complications. even if that means releasing them. nobody deserves to die from this disease we have a duty to ensure basic protections for those in our custody. unfortunately in the years since he pandemic began, has failed to make sufficient use of the authority granted to it under the cares act to place certain prisoners in home confinement earlier than previously committed by statutes leaving many inmates unnecessarily at risk of illness or death. excuse me. after the trump administration ordered people released under the cares act would have to return to custody with the threat of covid-19 had abated i was pleased to see attorney
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general garland wisely reversed the policy. most of these individuals will now be allowed to remain out of custody and continue with the work of rebuilding their lives. this is a significant and appropriate change and i commend the biden administration for making this important move. long before the pandemic the cares act, the first step act, dot had the power to petition for the release of federal inmates of extraordinary compelling reason is warrant or the inmate met several criteria. despite this authority of compassionately's gop is routinely chosen not to see compassionate release. this is a wasted opportunity to deliver justice to the people at low risk of recidivism and the families of communities that benefit from their return home. in light of the citizen rates among individual release, under the cares act and during the pandemic i hope they will begin you to use compassionate release more often.
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i also hope they will commit to improving the conditions of the facilities across the country. i am aware particular unacceptable conditions at the metropolitan detention center in brooklyn. this long predates covid-19. example in a frigid cold spell early 2019, detainees there had no heat or electricity. officials said no plan in place in case the power outage had no sense of urgency whatsoever to address the problem. i along with other members including mr. jeffries toured the facility to see firsthand the terrible conditions. the onset of the pandemic we continue to hear reports about treatment of those. we must do better. that is why am pleased to doctor goodwin here today to discuss their observations while conducting on-site inspections of facilities. i expect you will both have helpful recommendations for
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what we can do moving forward to improve the conditions of the facilities. to help inmates gain treatment and programming, and to protect the most vulnerable in custody. we are also fortunate to have other distinguished guests here to speak with us about some of the critical issues i have described. i look forward to hearing from each of you. madam chair, before i yield back i would like to take a brief moment of personal privilege to recognize joe first long and valued service as a house judiciary committee. joe came to the coming 2009 to work on crime policy within he is today the chief counsel of our subcommittee on crime terrorism and homeland security. on that span of service he's drafted dozens of laws with hundreds of hearings like this one without question help to supervise help to improve the lives of millions of americans. in particular we should observe joe has played a role
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in every major criminal justice that has been signed into law in the past decade and a half. including the fair sentencing act in the first step act. as well as address the briefcase a backlog, inform surveillance practice and rights of survivors of sexual assaults among many others. in fact, under joe's leadership on the republican president more than a dozen bills under the crime subcommittee jurisdiction was signed into law and passed congress alone. several other signed into law this congress as well. today is jo's last hearing as chief counsel. we congratulate him his recent engagement wish and wellness upcoming move to texas, will miss his leadership, his friendship and his steadfast dedication to justice for all. simply put, our country is better off because of joe's work. thank you, joe for your service to the committee and best of luck with his without
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a yield back. >> mr. chairman thank you very much for your statement but also for your kind words. and of course i would be remiss if i also did not acknowledge how very invaluable and long-standing, knowledgeable service chief counsel joe. he has given to the committee and of course to the subcommittee years of experience that have come from the department of justice. if i might say his calm demeanor with the guiding hope and making sure the subcommittee and his service to then a chairman or ranking member and of course to you, mr. chairman for steady and constructive and helpful. you are right, he has been at the cornerstone of so much legislation that's helped the millions and millions of
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americans. i can think of legislation reducing gun violence checking the health and safety of those incarcerated on ensuring the meaningful access to counsel and dealing with reducing domestic terrorism as well. this has been really a focus of this committee and he has been at the center point of it dealing with homeland security and reform of outdated drug laws. is a passion for the law and a passion for service to the country and to this committee and this congress. i too would like to restrain him but that i will not do because he is leaving because of a joyful moment in his life. that is an engagement to us wonderful now fiancé. and of course the great opportunities for both of them. i want him to know that we are excited about his legacy and what he has done for this country through this
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committee. but we are even more excited about his future. i want to congratulate you, i'm glad we were able to have a committee hearing that you have had such a handprint on so we can say congratulations to you. we will miss you but we bid you a do my friend and wish you the very best. i want to acknowledge the ranking member mr. jordan, thank you very much for his presence here today. it is now my pleasure to introduce today's witnesses. and begin to thank them for their presence here. and to acknowledge the importance of the testimony. when levi was born and raised in a mother of six serving as a pta president model cities representative while also distributing cocaine and heroin. she is a cancer survivor who in the 17th there were 33 year prison sentence was
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released to home environment under the cares act and then returned to custody 13 months later due to a missed call from a halfway house. in july 2021 she was granted compassionate release under the first step act which resulted in time served sentence. as a court reporter in prison and monitor an adjunct professor of new york university. he is a physician, epidemiologist at the intersection of incarceration, health and human rights specializing. he served on the biden-harris equity task force is a former chief medical officer of correctional health services new york city health and hospital corporation and author of life and death. received his medical doctorate from the university of illinois irvine. allison is a clinical professor at the university of ohio college of law where she oversees the federal criminal
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defense clinic. she has also done extensive work on compassionate relief, the handling of covid-19 contract deaths attributable to covid-19. is formally an assistant federal defender who served the united states district for the eastern district of washington and idaho. she received her law degree from the university of iowa, college of law or she editor-in-chief of the iowa law review. i'm just a scene with the u.s. government accountability office where she leads the work on justice and law enforcement issues. her portfolio includes federal prison systems, federal law enforcement oversight and training, civil liberties and civil rights in the federal judiciary. twenty plus years she also worked on issues related to social security reform, disabilities, k-12 and higher education. doctor gooden received her phd and masters degree in economics from the university
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of nebraska lincoln and a bachelors degree in economics at the university of houston. kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor at america's greatness. ms. kelly covers a political and policy issues. she is an author and former political to officeholders and candidates in suburban chicago. her fast work can be found at the federalist international review as well as guest editorials in the wall street journal and the help. miss kelly is a 1990 graduate eastern illinois university she lives in illinois with her husband and two daughters. phd is a senior lecturer of law and criminal justice of the university of law in the united kingdom previously served as visiting criminal law scholar visiting professor of law at the university of houston law center. doctor hamilton is a former police officer, former
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corrections officer in judicial court was a member of the task force of corrections with the present association. she previously served on the assessment task force of the national association. she received her phd in criminology from the university of texas at austin and from the university of texas school of law. i welcome all of you, welcome all of our distinguished witnesses we are very grateful to them it does not go unnoticed to witnesses connection. and the university of houston that means i have a smile for all the witnesses probably begin by swearing in her witnesses and ask her witnesses to turn on their audio and make sure i can see your faces and your raised hand while i administer the oath. raise hands. do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury, that the
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testimony or about to give is true, and correct to the best of your knowledge information and belief? so help you god. witnesses need to show your affirmative. >> i do. >> i do. >> i do. cracks i do. >> thank you very much please note your witness statement only record and i ask you summarize your testimony in five minutes to help you stay within that timeframe there is a time light on your screen. the light switches from green to yellow you have a one minute to conclude your testimony. when the light turns red at signals for five minutes have expired. it is now pleasure to recognize for five minutes. levite you are recognized so please unmute and begin your testimony. thank you very much. >> good morning. ranking member biggs and members of the subcommittee, i live in baltimore, maryland. in march 2020 when the first
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wave of covid-19 pandemic hit, i was 16 years into my sentence. for a non- violent drug offense. seventy-four years old and adjust survived a bout with lung cancer. like so many other people at the time, i was worried about the deadly virus spreading throughout the city there is no vaccine yet and being in prison made physical distancing and proper hygiene almost impossible. fortunately, congress did pass the cares act in march. it included a provision that allowed people to send people home. to send people to home confinement. to save lives and limit the spread of covid-19. established a home confinement limiting it to people who served more than half of their sentence, had clean disciplinary records for the pastor had no history of violence, and had a minimal
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score on the pattern risk assessment and were among those considered high risk for suffering complications from covid-19. i met all of those criteria i was approved for home environment the day before my 7h birthday. it was a blessing to be able to return home to my family and my 94-year-old thriving mother. my incarceration was especially difficult for her. when i was at prison i was fitted with an ankle monitor that track to my every move. i could not leave the house to go anywhere, even the grocery store without permission from a case manager at the halfway house. being at home confinement is much better than prison. but it is still worlds away from being free. when i got home i begin advocating for criminal justice reform. especially women, people of color, the elderly and those without a lot of money, people
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just like me. i wanted to make a positive contribution to my community. i signed up for a computer class administered by the justice project. which is being held in the building owned by the department. i did not know the building was to designed to prevent gps monitoring as a security measure so the security monitor i was wearing glasses single. i was in the second class on june 12, my phone was turned off it. apparently the house by house up tried to call me later pinged my ankle bracelet. i did not hear either device. that afternoon i was told i had committed an escape. i was being out of touch for four hours. i was told to pack a bag and return to the halfway house. while at the halfway house i was questioned and told to sign a statement so that i could go home. my attorney asked to be present at that hearing what i
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was being questioned but they refused her request. the day after i signed the statement i was not sent home. instead the united states marshals came to the halfway house and arrested me. they put me in the d.c. jail on june 16. telling my attorney to expedite my return to a federal corrections facility. as awful as that was i was lucky, my family there devastated that went into action so the organizations i had been working with. the media picked up the story and it struck a nerve with the public. organizations like that national council of formerly incarcerated women and girls organizations like the justice project, these organizations got me home. people from across the country were outraged during a pandemic the gop sent me a
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75-year-old cancer survivor to jail because i attended a computer class in the hope of finding a paid job. at that point my request for sentence reduction had been sitting in the court for more than a year. the justice department oppose my motion just as they did nearly every motion for compassionate release file but i was lucky this time thanks to the overwhelming support i received the judge granted me compassionate release and i was least 2021 and reduce my sentence to time served. my ordeal with jail was almost finally over. i worked to help others goes on. i've got to share the subcommittee the administration and congress can do right now to help those in my position. people who are trying their best to make amends. first, president biden could commute the sentences of
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everyone in the cares act confinement for home confinement so that they can move forward with their lives. second, the covid-19 very make his way to the prison the gop should use their facility bring compassionate relief motion on behalf of at risk people. >> miss levi your time has expire if you could wrap up i'll let you finish if you could wrap up, thank you. >> congress to pass legislation establishing the oversight committee so these things we are addressing today at the subcommittee hearing can be addressed. i thank you for allowing me too testify this morning forward to answering your questions. >> thank you so much. doctor your now recognize for five minutes. >> good morning chairwoman jackson lee, chairman nadler, ranking member >>, and jordan and members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony.
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my name is homer i'm a physician and epidemiologist who spent the last two years performing over 40 inspections of jails, prisons, immigration detention facilities across the country to assess the adequacy of covid-19 responses including bureau of prisons facilities. is that a crucial juncture regarding health care for detained people and i feared many critical lessons in the covid-19 pandemic may be ignored or left unaddressed. my greatest area of concern is pre-existing deficiencies in the health services provided to people in custody, which contributed to the spread of covid-19 remain unaddressed. we must replicate the strengths and address the deficiencies in how the agencies responded. my investigations revealed a disturbing lack of access to care when a new medical problem is encountered. the first facility i inspected the metropolitan detention center in brooklyn, new york,
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it quickly became apparent that not only are reports of covid-19 symptoms being ignored, that the requests they filled out were being destroyed. systemic issues like this meant covid-19 arrived incarcerated people relied on a broken system of sick call to receive care. chronic care and behavior health are two more areas or pre-existing weaknesses in the health services worsen the morbidity and mortality of covid-19. one example is a take it or leave it approach of covid-19 vaccination and large-scale vaccination events. this approach may suffice for some, patients on multiple medications and many questions it simply did not suffice. need to improve these areas but the principles laid out then attorney bars memo from early in the pandemic the
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unrealized rationale's even more important now to consider in the macron outbreaks because the tremendous lack of staffing inside facilities. there is one critical task that remains unaddressed regarding the bop and covid-19. they must have an independent assessment of all covid-19 deaths including those that occurred in public facilities. in deficiencies in the covid-19 responses. there is no doubt that many of these strengths saved lives and conversely many of these deficiencies lead to preventable illness and death. to date there's not been any systemic and independent review of deaths from covid-19 and bop custody. the analysis expects the inspector general of the d.o.j. pretty strongly support this proposal. it highlights more fundamental problem.
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the lack of independent assessment and how deaths are reviewed and more broadly, the lack of it meaningful oversight by health organization. every other sector of healthcare in the united states as independent and professional health organizations reviewing the quality of care. an other spaces leave those crucial assessments to law enforcement review its own provision of healthcare. in order for the bop to improve its overall health services and prepare for the next infectious disease outbreak we must have an independent assessment of covid-19 related deaths among people in bop marshals custody. we also must create an independent health authority to oversee and report on all aspects of healthcare inside facilities. the bop faces important choice how they respond to covid-19 and work to improve their health services. the committee health settings we do not allow a hospital or clinic to be the arbiter of how well they are doing.
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instead we relent external agencies and authorities with health expertise for this critical work. currently the bop is left to make its own assessments of the quality and scope of its healthcare and only sporadic investigations by the inspector general, the department of justice provide alternative viewpoints. this is wholly insufficient and a systemic disadvantage of the organization structures that measure and promote health for the rest of us are excluded from the care people receive in the bop. the bop has an opportunity to start addressing this unequal system of care and it must start with an honest assessment of covid-19 deaths in partnership with the cdc and other true health organizations. thank you for the opportunity to provide this testimony, happy to take any questions. >> thank you so very much for your testimony. and now i would like to
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recognize for five minutes, thank you. >> chair, and ranking members but thank you for inviting me too testify here today prefer the more hundred 63000 people currently incarcerated in federal facilities the topics of the committee going to address today are literally a matter of life and death. my name is allison guernsey and i am an associate professor at the university of iowa college of law or i direct the clinic. my students and might represent indigent people have been charged with federal crimes or who are seeking sentencing reductions in federal district and circuit courts across the country. this includes motion for compassionate release and advocacy of the cares act. in addition to our direct representation however, we spent the past 22 months attempting to monitor and track the covid-19 related deaths and infections than bureaus prisons with an eye towards identifying the impact of the actions on the
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availability and use of compaction release. i'm currently living in our prisons have been the driver behind our work out to start by highlighting the real human toll covid-19 has exacted. i wanted tell you about. he was a 49-year-old father and brother from texas who died of covid-19 while being housed at a medical facility in springfield, missouri. in march, 2020 he was sentenced for marijuana trafficking for 30 months. long term pre-existing medical conditions the cdc had lifted and increasing his risk of severe covid and even death. not surprisingly in december 2020 mr. cut covid. he started to get better until he didn't. and it march of 2021 is transported to the hospital and just days later he died. at the time of his death he
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had served 20 months of the 30 month sentence. from the information we know he was a strong candidates for home confinement. from what we know we could've had a shot at compassionate release. although it is impossible to tell from the bureaus prisons publicly available data whether he applied for either, certainly did not get them. it's one of thousands of people and federal facilities who can't covid some more than once. death is one close to 300 that have occurred since march 2020. as i highlight having spent the past 22 months monitoring the data and talking to advocates from inside and out, a federal prison there are serious questions about the veracity of the infection and death data. not only did these questions cast doubt on the handling of the pandemic, but they have real world impact on the
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adjudication of compassionate release. first, the death rate. according to the currently available data and the prisons as of today there are 279 people have died from covid while housed in federal facilities. this number suspect for several reasons. first, delayed reporting. second, it does not include anyone who died in a privately managed facility with a federal contract. and third, it excludes people who are granted compassionate release just in time to die free. second, the infection rate. the bureau of prisons has admitted cumulative infection rate does not include anyone who can't covid it was then released from prison. moreover, inspection rate data is only as good as it's testing. reports only one testing variable for incarcerated people, the number of people attest. by recording the number of people attest as opposed to the number of test administered, they are able to
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hide whether low infection rate is due to low covid prevalence or simply inadequate testing. advocates and people incarcerated have reported day after day, there is suspicion is the latter. the accuracy of the data it matters, federal courts rely on return link compassionate release. if the judge misjudges the covid risk they sent in accurate data people we know are medically vulnerable will be left in presented diet. we know the bureaus not bridging that gap. it is approved only 43 requests in 2020 and the first part of 2021 only nine. the question is simple, what missed me do? we must require the dot to report accurate and verifiable data. we should require them to do this for death and for infections and we should require the comply with the mandates already articulated in the first step act iii requiring them to report to this committee in congress what they are doing with respect to compassionate
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release. i appreciate you taking the time to focus on some of the people who are the most vulnerable during the pandemic and welcome your questions. >> thank you very much for your statement. and now, it is my pleasure to recognize you for five minutes. >> chair jackson lee, ranking member bags, chair nadler and ranking member jordan and members of the subcommittee, i am pleased to be here today to discuss the recommendations we made to enhance covid-19 response and efforts to address them. and our ongoing work on d.o.j. and bop implementation of certain provisions in the first step act. responsible not only for the supervision and custody of more than one or pd 7000 federal inmates, but also for their healthcare, safety and rehabilitation.
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the covid-19 pandemic strain congregant living facilities such as prison which are most more vulnerable to infectious disease outbreak. as of yesterday, attributed 279 inmate deaths and seven staff member deaths to covid-19. our report examining over 19 response staff reported how they implement the guidance. we recommend bop routinely evaluate how it communicates its guidance to facility staff and modify its approach to ensure protocols are clearly communicated. has taken some action serving as staff and covid-19 guidance. we will continue to monitor efforts to review and assess that feedback, and to modify covid-19 guidance as needed. we also examine the process uses to identify and share
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best practices and lessons learned. to do this, close teleconferences among inspects facilities. however, we found the agency does not capture or share the lessons and best practices learned from these efforts. we recommend bop develop and implement approach to capture and share best practices and lessons learned as well as ensure its facilities are applying this information to covid-19 in future health emergency response efforts. continues to work on its approach to implementing these recommendations and we will continue to monitor its progress. even as put covid-19 protocols in place, it still has obligations to prevent inmates with programs to advance their education and development. the first step act contains a number of requirements for bop and d.o.j. related to assessing inmates recidivism risk and the need for programs that target certain risk
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factors. d.o.j. has developed a risk assessment tool known as a pattern which is designed to predict the likelihood of for cynicism for all inmates. bop has begun to inform eyes and enhance its needs assessment system. bop use the pattern inmates needs assessment to determine the type and amount of evidence-based recidivism reduction programming that is appropriate for each federal inmate. eligible inmates to successfully participate in this programming or other productive activities may earn time credits that will allow them to be placed in pre-releasing custody or supervised release earlier than previously allowed. the first step act requires gao to review the actions, doe and d.o.j. have taken to implement the risk needs assessment system. our ongoing work will analyze data to determine if it's conducting risk needs assessment with the frequency required by law, also examine
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inmates participation evidence-based reduction programming and productive activity. and we will examine the process for applying time credits to reduce sanderson's bill monitored new rules the federal time credits program. our prior work illustrates the importance of effectively communicating his covid-19 guidance to staff and ensuring lessons learned from the pandemic are captured, shared, and applied. our ongoing work on the first step requirement is both timely and relevant in light of covid-19. chair jackson lee, ranking member big, chair nadler, ranking member jordan and members of the subcommittee, this concludes my remarks. i am happy to answer any questions you have. >> thank you very much missed good one thank you for your work. i am very pleased to recognize
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you for five minutes. >> thank you chairman and ranking member biggs. chairman another and ranking member jordan. my name is julie kelly emma senior contributor for american greatness. for nearly a year i have afforded on the inhumane conditions the correctional treatment facility which has been satisfied to did taint americans charged in the justice department capitol reach probe or the justice department's got pretrial attention or at least 100 genera six protesters. right now more than 70 men are incarcerated in prisons across the country awaiting trial. at least 37 of those men are detained at the d.c. correctional treatment facility. it is important to underscore to the committee and to those watching that these defendants have not been convicted of any crime. most have no criminal record and some do not even face charges related to their
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conduct on january 6. many detainees do not even have a court date yet. they have been denied bail because prosecutors insist they are a threat to society based on their participation in the capitol protest and federal judges on the d.c. district court have been sent to the justice department demand to keep them behind bars while at the same time repeatedly delaying their trials into the this year. the original rationale for keeping generally six protesters separated from the general population incarcerated as the d.c. department is to protect them for more violent criminals. it appears however the d.c. jail for generally six protesters is more of a political prison for americans who protested joe biden's election. detainees at the jail have reported numerous human rights and constitutional violations. a detainee i spoke with this
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week, and army reserve charge with no violent crime, who is been imprisoned since his arrest a year ago and the gender since jail is under 22 hour lockdown due to covid. it is nearly impossible for detainees to move their attorneys or access the discovery access against them. defense lawyers have complained it takes months for their clients to finally receive discovery materials because jail officials are withholding the evidence. the video evidence especially any clip produce from the 14000 hours of surveillance video captured by capitol security cameras on generate six at the justice department designated highly sensitive government material is under strict rules is nearly impossible for detainees to watch any relevant video concealed under protective orders. the situation is so egregious the d.c. district court the committee to capture the problem between a detainees
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access and their evidence that last of the d.c. jail for withholding evidence from an accused defendants. it cannot allow someone to sit in prison for this long without access for material he said back in july. calling the delays utterly unacceptable and not consistent with due process. but six months later the situation does not appear to be improving. even personal hygiene services some have not seen their families and nearly a year. detainees have reported instances of racially and political abuse. chilled the only newspaper distributed in the d.c. jail published just this week federal detection monitor for the u.s. marshals service detailed several issues of the d.c. jail for january 6
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detainees such as the presence of mold and maintenance of cpac machines. they reported they refuse to get the covid shot to refuse the second wind could have personal visits there logged out two hours a day for recreation time they are spending 22 hours alone what i'm told a freezing eight by ten cell. again these men had been convicted of no crimes. they can again confirm what i have heard from detainees, lawyers and judges about lack of access to discovery material. wrote in his reports they are only allowed access to computers to review electronic discovery for only 14 days and they are not enough computers to go around for this is a clear violation of the sixth amendment yet still concluded the conditions in the d.c. jail for detainees are
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appropriate and consistent with federal prisoner standards. i see my time is up thank you so much for inviting me here today. look for to answering any questions. >> week thank you. ms. hamilton i now recognize you for five minutes. you are recognized. >> thank you esteemed committee for the opportunity to provide information of the current state of pattern which is the name of this assessment tool developed under the auspices of the first step act. i will make six points. : : : the report reveals, for example, two thirds of the risk factors were incorrectly weighted, most
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factors were incorrectly defined, and there were additional scoring errors. according to the report, due to these problems, overall, 11% of the population is placed in the wrong risk level. third, the report offers a new version of patterns and makes significant modifications otherwise. nonetheless, this updated version will not be used in practice unless and until it is formally approved by the attorney general himself. a timeframe was not offered for that process. consequentially there's over 14,000 prisoners in custody without admittedly incorrect classifications. this impacts many of these individuals ability to draw on the incentives that the act was meant to offer. the position simply is that nothing can be done until the new version is approved, the individual is reassessed and then assigned new risk levels. fourth, adding to the report it
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informs the patterns are not performed equally based on the race and ethnicity. we are to applaud the new consultants for helpfully providing helpful metrics on this. in sum, the tool over predicts which means unnecessary classifying is a high risk the likelihood and any rearrests specifically for african-american, asian american and hispanic americans. moreover, the recent publication reveals that a higher risk classification applies to over 50% of african-americans compared to 28% of whites. further work should be done towards ameliorating the potential disparities. the mig report reveals patterns operate take significant rates of error and that it disproportionately has positive negatives. a false-positive is the incorrect prediction of high risk when the individual remains crime free whereas a false negative is the incorrect prediction of low risk. this means a choice has been
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made to design the tools far less accurately with high risk which means placing too many individuals into the high risk groupings than is necessary. this is a curious choice as the act was designed with little danger to the public as incorrect predictions as this doesn't lead to immediate release. instead they relate to more robust incentives to engage with rehabilitative programming. that policy directive could be to recalibrate patterns to reduce false positives which would increase the number of individuals who are eligible to work toward and earn time credit. so far there's been no validation of the needs aspect of the system. they are working to identify appropriate programs but at this time a significant divide exists between program availability and demand in many facilities. this results in a lottery system
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whereby the luck of the draw in the facility placement means some individuals have greater access to and others to earning time credit. i remain hopeful that there is a path for congressional intent to be realized with the first step act and on the risk side this will require the continued effort to correct the rating and to brainstorm to reduce the racial disparities in the next version of patterns that must be offered to the attorney general for approval then this means supplementing program availability and connecting the validation of the needs component. thank you. >> thank you for your testimony and all of you for your opening statements. we will now proceed under the five minute rule with questions and i will begin by recognizing
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myself for five minutes again thanking you and looking forward to the testimony of the witnesses. let me briefly indicate under the release the fact has come to my attention 21,150 motions filed so 6,957 motions were denied. 96% of the motions filed for compassionate release were done by the prisoners. that means they were assessing no one fairly and barely responding to the crisis of covid-19. i would like to explore that and ask within the framework of whether or not the legislation for the opportunity in the compassionate release is taken seriously during the height that continues today.
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have you noticed a trend where the contribute an inmate death and if so could you elaborate and tell us how frequently you've seen this happen and talk about whether or not there's been an active review of those with covid-19 or who may be vulnerable and assessing and providing them with relief? >> i think one of the things to make clear at the outset is that often times in fact in almost every case where an individual has died while seeking compassionate release, if you pull up the motions they filed in federal court, you would see the prosecutors often times are given almost all cases in fact that the conditions the person suffers from are not the type of conditions that would rise to the level of an extraordinary compelling reason for a sentence
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reduction. often times, they rely on the medical records that the bureau of prison has provided and often times they argue it in front of the district court they are providing adequate medical care. what is so striking about that from the department of justice is that as soon as possible but he ended up dying while they were seeking compassionate release or from covid generally the bureau would immediately or sometimes in a delayed descendents issue a press release and those would always say as a justification for the death that the person suffered from conditions, chronic conditions the cdc had listed as making them more likely to be vulnerable to severe illness or death. nothing to see here in fact this person was already ill.
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>> thank you so very much. would you explain what they found regarding the staffing issues and how these are related to the response. if you could give a quick answer i would appreciate it. when we did the report looking at the staffing we found they faced a number of challenges and were very constrained with their staffing and one of the affects of that is the delivery of services like some of the folks in prison are not able to participate in the programming because the staff were not available. some of the other issues or concerns would be having the appropriate number of staff to provide whatever kind of service the inmates would need so as you move forward and look at now in
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this environment you have fewer staff to assist and maybe because staffing issues or because they've become infected with the virus themselves, how you have fewer people to manage and address any of the challenges or services the inmates need. >> underserved by the disparities of the risk assessment, would you provide a brief response on how that impacts where inmates may have come from and from race, gender and otherwise? >> so often people see an algorithm cannot be biased but it's based on biased data then
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the algorithm becomes biased and produces biased results such as an overproduction and in return then that encourages unfortunately people to believe that these are dangerous individuals and it may simply be based on bias and then briefly, there's something that can be done and the and ij consultants are aware of the discussions in the broader community about how to reduce the biases in these type of algorithms. >> thank you very much. my time has expired, and i recognize mr. biggs for his question. >> thank you, madam chair. and i think all the witnesses for their testimony. i feel we've received important information already today, and i appreciate your testimony. i think we will get an opportunity to comment on that later. and i hope, madam chair, as we do a follow-up on what we learned today, that we bring the bureau of prison personnel in so that we might be able to question them as well.
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i think that would be important. ms. kelly, thank you for being here today -- >> i don't want to interrupt you, but you are absolutely right, and we will be having that very next hearing in the few next days on that very point. thank you. i just wanted to answer you immediately. i yelled back. >> thank you. ms. kelly, as i mentioned in my opening statement, some of the january 6th have been held in solitary confinement for periods of time. what have you learned from detainees and their families and lawyers about how these men are coping with incarceration conditions that simply are not permissible in the united states? >> thank you, ranking member biggs for that question and for inviting me. as you can imagine, it is extremely difficult. they were in solitary confinement conditions for the first several months of their incarceration based on the pandemic, and then those conditions were loosened up a little bit, but now they are back to 22 hours in their cells
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with only two hours out. that only gives them time -- that's all the time they have to try to communicate with their family, their lawyers, to see the discovery evidence against them. and as i said, some of these men are not charged with any violent crime. and at the same time that covid is impacting what's happening at the dc jail, for january 6th defendants, the trial dates are now getting pushed further out. for instance, i covered a hearing for robert who's been incarcerated for over a year, not convicted of any crime of course, but he is now -- he will be in covid isolation for 30 days based on a testing that's going on there. even if someone tests positive in his unit, he was in 14 days of isolation, came out from an out tested positive and is now in another 14 days. the trial is set to begin the end of february. judge sullivan moved it to the
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end of april now. so he will be in jail almost 18 months before he even has the chance to defend himself in the court of law. >> and so, ms. kelly, you've mentioned going into and investigating, coming and determining the kind of isolated treatment is appropriate for the january 6th detainees. my question for you is is this treatment they are receiving consistent of all federal prisoners who are in pretrial detention? >> that, i don't know. that would be a great question may be some of the other witnesses have an answer for that. but the idea that now they have been returned to -- i've heard this from family members and detainees over the past week or so, that now that it's been confirmed by u.s. marshals, i don't know if that's the situation for all 130 detainees, not including the ones just to
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thereunder pretrial detention. so, i just don't have an answer to that. my assumption is that no, this is not the situation for other pretrial detainees in the federal system right now. >> in october, judge royce lambert found the director of the detention center in contempt for refusing to turn over medical records related to the care of christopher wardell, a former january 60 days that he suffered from non-hodgkin's lymphoma. what happened in that case and what is the status? >> the judge repeatedly asked for the medical records related to christopher, who does suffer from non-hodgkin's lymphoma. hit the caseworkers and while he was in the dc jail. he was denied medical care. he also broke his hand and wasn't getting attention for that. so, his medical condition worsened and finally a doctor decided that he needed intensive chemo and radiation every week,
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and judge lambert had had enough finally and now has signed off on many of these pretrial detention orders because he was not getting the documents that he requested. in october, he cited both of them for contempt of court and also referred the case to doj for civil rights violations. i have no update on that. and then he was finally moved out of the dc jail so he could get the care he needed. i still don't think he has a trial date yet either. >> [inaudible] >> the deputy warden for the dc and i believe she's still there. as you know, representative biggs, there were several house members that signed a letter for her resignation after social media posts showed extreme political bias against former president trump and trump supporters. it was racially biased, it was politically biased, religiously
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biased. as soonest the posts were exposed to the public, she deleted her twitter accounts that showed exactly who she was and how her view was of the people under her care. >> thank you. my time is expired. but madam chair, i would like to submit a screenshot of the that social media that ms. kelly just stated. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you. >> thank you, to the ranking member. it's now my privilege to welcome the gentleman from new york, mr. >> thank you madam chair. you bring deep experience in evaluating not just individual provisions of the medical care and conduction facilities but also managing the systemic issues. i know you visited the brooklyn and dc during the first covid outbreak in 2020. he spoke directly to a number of
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incarcerated people and also evaluated the adequacy of medical care. was there anything about the dc medical response to covid that stood out to you that is more concerning than what you saw nationwide? >> i think two of the things i was especially concerned about were the approach of just letting the virus run rampant, locking people in small spaces and letting the virus run through housing areas with little or even no care and the other is when people were porting problems through sick call slips, until we started looking into this, the practice in the facility was to throw those slips out so if a person never got the scene, there was no actual record of what they had experienced and that was especially shocking to me. i didn't have an account of that previously in my work in correctional health. >> and contrary to the policies. >> yes. i certainly have looked at how
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sick call is approach during the covid pandemic, because there's only a few ways people can get care when they get sick with covid and so it is a special area of scrutiny for me everywhere i go. >> given the sense of how they are dealing with medical care today, as it faces one of the highest positivity rates for covid-19 among the detainees of any facility in the country, do they seem to learn anything from the initial outbreaks? >> i haven't been back in the facility. my concern now is like a lot of facilities, a huge number of cases are happening very quickly. but there is still not a system to find and keep a special eye on high risk people, people with special risk factors because while we think of omicron as being potentially less deadly overall, we know who are the people most likely to die, so it's really important as the staff gets sick themselves into there's less work that can be
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done to keep a special eye on high risk people, both to check on them every day for symptoms but also to aggressively push for potential release when they meet the public safety criteria. >> thank you. professor, can you explain the discrepancy between your reported number of deaths and reported number of deaths? >> it's really quite difficult. the bureau of prison is reporting 279 deaths, but we know for the fact that this number doesn't include 18 people whose names we learned through the freedom of information act request who were incarcerated in private facilities that had a federal contract. the other problem is the bureau is removing numbers from its websites, particularly the number with respect to these privately managed facilities. the other issue that we are having is that the reporting of deaths appears to be quite substantially delayed.
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of the people who i can track, which is a very few, only 276 that are out of the potential 297, several of them, more than a dozen diet end of the bureau of presented and report their deaths within six months. frankly, there were two that took a year to report and the other issue is that the bureau of prisons and federal court org compassionate relief for people on their deathbed and will literally be released so they don't die in chains and those numbers are never attributed to the total death count in the system. >> so the policy seems to be dishonest is what you are saying. >> i can't speak to the motivations but i can tell you the data indicates that there are substantially more deaths than they are reporting and that is just limited to data. i still have to freedom of information act requests outstanding. and it's difficult to do a comparison. >> thank you. my last question how are they reporting information to family
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members of those in custody? given some of the information you received, do you believe they are withholding information from families of individuals who die in custody? >> i've attempted to reach out to a lot of family members, and i've been quite surprised at how many had no idea a family member infected died of covid. i can think of two families off the top of my head that were given information that their loved one died of a pre-existing condition, when in fact the information i received indicated it was the result of covid-19. >> covid-19. >> thank you. i yelled back. i think the chair man very much for his questioning now i'm pleased to recognize the gentle lady from california.
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we will come back to her. the gentle lady from florida for five minutes. >> thank you so much, madame chairwoman for holding this very important hearing and thank you to all of our witnesses for joining us today. there is no doubt the testimony we have heard about the operation of the federal bureau of prisons is troubling. i did my internship, yeah it was a lot of years ago, but i did my internship in a federal correctional institution. there were challenges then, and it is apparent today based on the witness' testimony that we still have a lot of work to do. we have heard testimony [inaudible] my colleague mr. biggs talked about the filth that is just
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unimaginable. we've heard about inadequate medical care and attention, a failure to properly administer authority granted by congress. yes we can hold people accountable. we know that we can also treat them with dignity. i'm glad we are having this hearing to confront these important issues, and i hope we are able to have someone we've already heard but let me just say it again i hope that we are able to have someone from the bureau of prisons before us soon to continue the conversations to be at a chairwoman jackson lee, thank you for your commitment there. ms. goodwin, you testified that the gao's work has shown that the deficiencies can generally be categorized into three things, one of which is inadequate management of staff and resources. ms. goodwin, can you please expand a bit on that and show
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how the bop efficiency and management style if you will contributes to other issue is identified by your office? >> thank you for that question, congresswoman. so, the gao every two years does what we call the high-risk list, where we note the agencies that we think are at risk for issues around fraud, waste, abuse or mismanagement of resources. and so this past high-risk list, gao risked listed the management of the federal prison system as an emerging issue because we were concerned about those three things, particularly the first one being management of resources and the number of times the leadership has changed over. so, when that happens, that affects everything else in the agency. it affects the staffing. when we did the report looking at the staffing and going back to the question i got from the chairwoman earlier if you don't have the appropriate stuff, you can't get the appropriate
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programs and programs to the inmates. then if you are shortstaffed, here comes covid and staff are going out because of that, that's fewer and fewer staff that you have just to provide services to the people who are incarcerated. another reason we've listed bop as an emerging issue of the high-risk list is the management of resources. when we did the staffing report, just getting information about how bop was conducting or information about how they were providing overtime and how that was being done across the number of staff that they had, it was problematic. the agency has made some really severe staffing challenges before covid. and then once covid hit, the challenges were only exacerbated. so, we continue to review everything that's happening at the agency and we will see if there is an emerging issue now and we will make decisions about whether they become placed on
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the high-risk list later on. one of the things we are looking at is how they are going to be implementing the first step act. those requirements particularly the needs and risk assessment that ongoing work that we have right now, so that will help feed into the determination as to whether they end up on the high-risk list. >> he also talked aboutyou alsot inadequate planning for the new program initiatives that inmates prepared for successful return back into our communities. can you also expand a little bit on that and what needs to be done there in your recommendation to improve the planning for future success? >> so, a couple things we looked out there. when the bop was kind of piloting new programs, paying attention and getting the data on the effectiveness of the programs to see if it's something that they could put up on a larger scale and provide throughout the agency and just
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lessons learned from that we found the agency wasn't adequately capturing that. so, at times they might be duplicating efforts or they might just not be getting the costs from paying attention to the cost benefits or cost effectiveness of some of the efforts they had ongoing. so, you do something one year and then maybe ten or 15 years later you might try something again, but did you learn from what didn't work the first time. >> i just want to say very quickly thank you so much. i didn't get to my question to you but thank you for sharing your story it is most helpful for this committee. and i do yelled back. >> in queue. you.and let me yield to you fore minutes and thank you for accepting my apology. thank you. >> no problem. the conditions of inmates in prisons is important to know
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question about that but before there's an incarceration, a crime is committed. back in december of 2020 following the horrific death of george floyd, many protesters and elected officials, mostly democrats across the country, proclaimed that because he died at the hands of a police officer, it was time to defend the police. in cities all across america we did in fact a see that defunding and leasing the federal prosecutors again overwhelmingly democratic deciding they no longer prosecute so-called low-level offenses like shoplifting, which for example with mobs, sledgehammers or department stores. we've also seen the relentless campaign to eliminate cash bail. criminals commit crimes. they are quickly released on a low or no bail and go out and commit more crimes. the governor in california
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apparently they've been reading car containers for months. thousands of empty cardboard boxes after they've been plundered. they said it looked like a third world country. no wonder we have these supply chain problems. this is the tip of the iceberg. i urge the attorney general and the fbi to testify before this committee to discuss their strategy for combating the current spike of the violence and crime in this nation and i would like to direct question to ms. kelly as a result of the marches which in many cases led to riots and violence there was an effort by the left including some democrats in congress to defund the police and because
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most major cities across the country are controlled overwhelmingly by democrats, many police departments were indeed to defund data. for example, portland oregon $16 million cut, baltimore, 23 million, san francisco, 120 million. texas and la, 150 million and new york city cut its police department by a billion dollars, so my question is do you believe that this defunding of police has contributed to the increased crime rate that you are seeing currently? >> this question is to me? i assume so. i'm not an expert specifically on that but i will say that the people that i hear from based on my work, the disparity end of the treatment between capital protesters and those who rioted far more destruction to the country are responsible for
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$2 billion with of damages, hundreds or thousands of police officers attacked and assaulted and nearly two dozen deaths related to what happened in the summer of 2020. what i hear mostly from americans is outrage over the disparity between the treatment of those rioters, activists, whatever you want to call them and what happened for hours at the capital. every single week mostly on misdemeanors but nonetheless treating them as domestic terrorists while we have so many offenders from 2020 who haven't been charged anywhere close to what these people have been. >> to follow up i would also note during the course of the riots i mentioned earlier there is approximately 10,000 police officers who were injured and unfortunately, some died.
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i would also note one of the things my democratic colleagues in congress wanted to do is take away their qualified immunity about what he basically allow people to sue police officers and their personal capacity in which case their pension funds, their home, college funds for their kids could all be at risk of greedy trial lawyers. so the same person that's going to want to go into policing if you are actually going against their personal assets. so it's no wonder that we've seen morale declined to a considerable degree. less proactive policing in some communities across the country, and the resulting rise in crime rates. so whereas this is a very important topic, madam chair, that we are discussing today, we ought to also be discussing that crime and the dramatic impact it's having on the quality of life in this nation across the
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country, and i will yield back. >> mr. chair man, let me thank you and i would be a ram asked f i didn't remind our committee that we know in the january 6th investigation there were several members in this congress that they are concerned about that are contributing to the incident that occurred, and i think as we look at the video, we saw many people that were not those that you referred to that were beating police officers to my horror and outrage. so, we need to look at these issues globally and recognize that the facts are important when we are in this committee as well. let me indicate that [inaudible] i am pleased to yield five minutes at this time.
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>> thank you and i apologize. i'm having technical difficulties on my end but i appreciate your leadership and for holding this today. i wanted to ask the witnesses, many communities around the country have been experiencing an uptick in crime, and some people are concerned that maybe that uptick is due to early release programs because of the pandemic, and i wanted to know if there is any data about what is happening to the people that were released. have they gone out and engaged in new crime and have they been re- incarcerated as opposed to what the witness described earlier as technical, because of the problem with her ankle bracelet. i wanted to know about people that have been released because of the pandemic and if there is evidence, documentation that they've gotten out and have been
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involved in crime and also people who were released not just because of the pandemic, but because of compassionate release. so, maybe you could respond, doctor goodwin. >> thank you for that question, congresswoman. so, we haven't looked at that issue yet. it's something that we can certainly work with your office if it's something you want gao to look into, but we don't have a lot of information on that right now. >> can any of the other witnesses speak to that? >> if i may -- >> yes. >> -- i know that in the december 21, 2021 attorney general memorandum that we first the decision that individuals on home confinement had to be sent back to prison. the attorney general cites a very specific number of people who have been on the care act home confinement who were returned to prison, and at that number is 289. so, thinking about the fact that there were 36,000 people placed
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on home confinement, 289 is a very small number two have returned. and it's my understanding that the bureau of prisons in fact added that he died that brings that down even further and people that were returned for technical violations and people who were returned for new crime. and it's my understanding that the people that were returned for new crime is relatively small. i mean, we are talking less than ten people. in terms of the compassionate release data, i do not have that. >> so, 289, you cannot sustain whether those were new crimes are just technical? >> there is no public data and indicates whether the rate they were new crimes or technical. i know there was something published in april of 2021. a gentle man from the brennan center of justice indicated that there were three that had been returned for new crimes. but again the bureau of prisons has that data and cited the data in a memo submitted to the attorney general's office and i
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would urge the committee to ask for that data from the bureau of prisons. >> thank you. i would appreciate that. >> i don't have any information on that question. i apologize. >> okay. thank you. i apologize that. the witness that described being violated because of the technical problem with of the ankle bracelet, i want to know if you could elaborate a little more. when it was discovered that it was a technical problem, was there any consideration given to that at all? >> what happened is that my attorney brought in evidence to show that i had been attending the class into previously attended and it was acknowledged that i had attended that class before. my case manager at the halfway house did not follow through
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obviously [inaudible] >> didn't you say that it wasn't just a matter of you attending class but that your ankle bracelet didn't work? >> yes, several times my ankle bracelet didn't work. that's happening to thousands of people out. they will go off when you are in different places, they will ping when you are home. sometimes when you are being called if people speak a foreign language you can hardly understand -- >> what is your situation today? >> my situation today i've been released on compassionate release by my judge as a result [inaudible] but again i say the people that are on compassionate release are out right now attempting to do what i just did. i tried to get together and reunite with family. they are taking classes, buying
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homes, going back to school, doing all these kinds of things and the threat was just removed thankfully from over their heads by the judge garland, so we appreciate that. but there's so much, so much that can be done to words giving these people compassionate release because, not just technicalities. most people are not committing these crimes as you said before, the level of new crimes being committed by people on compassionate release is almost [inaudible] less than 20 out of thousands of people. >> i do wish you success in the future and i will yelled back. >> the time is expired. >> thank you for your questioning. now i am pleased to yield five minutes. >> thank you madam chair. we've heard a lot today from witnesses about the bureau of prison, so i do hope that unfortunately we don't have a witness today, so i hope the
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chair is committed to bringing somebody in so we can ask some of these questions on both sides. i think we both have questions that we want answered. we've heard a lot today about the democrats wanting to let folks out of prison in the middle of the biggest crime wave in decades. but they also don't want to let out a people that have been charged with misdemeanors that are languishing in prison for january 6th. and i want to read a quote from the district judge, his exact quote, and i quote for the reasons stated in court, the judges the wording of the dc jail and the director of the department of corrections quincy booth are in civil contempt of court. u.s. district judge royce lambert of washington ruled the clerk of the court's order to transmit a copy to the attorney general for appropriate inquiry and potential violations of january 6 defendants as provided in the case. now we haven't heard from the doj as to whether they are actually doing that or not. i would love for another opportunity to question the committee about that.
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he goes on i find they have been abused, lambert said at a hearing. i don't know if it's because the january 6 defendant or not but i find the matter should be referred to the attorney general of the united states for a civil rights investigation into whether the dc department of corrections is violating the civil rights of january 6 defendants. and this there may be other cases. i ask unanimous consent, chair, to enter into the record fox news article federal judge finds dc jail warden in contempt. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you. ms. kelly, my questions are for you. january 6 suspects accused of minor crimes simply charged with trespassing or parading are the targets of hyperbolic statements by the propaganda press team. can we speak to some examples of this, and just recently in florida at a rate of an individual who simply walked into the capital, was not violent, didn't commit any other crimes other than walking in and got a year of probation, has to
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deal with house arrest and all these other things, which if it was reversed like the department of interior, we heard nothing of those that were rated at the department of the department of interior. questions i asked garland at the last time he was before the committee. could you expand on that? >> yes. thank you, so much. so, it's important to note that the most often used charge for capital protesters is a class b misdemeanor called parading or ticketing in the capital building. and that is what most of the defendants, but not necessarily those in the dc jail that the defendants have been charged with. and again, it's important to remember these people, almost all of them have no criminal record. that doesn't stop prosecutors and joe biden and merritt garlands justice department from suggesting that they are domestic terrorists, even if they were led into the building by capitol police as we now have surveillance video that proves that that is the case.
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went in because they were allowed in, took selfies. somewhere in for five or ten minutes, left peacefully, they were not arrested, they were not told they were not allowed there and then woke up to fbi raids at their home. the justice department is asking for harsh penalties, sometimes three years probation, sometimes home detention. what's even more i think egregious is the dc district judges who even go above and beyond what the justice department is asking, and in presenting these perpetrators for 30, 60, 90 days in jail, condemning them as potential terrorists attempting to overthrow democracy that day, following the hyperbole that you see in the press, you also see in the courtroom. so that is what they are doing to trespassers who thought they were doing nothing wrong on january 6th. >> into some of that video shows that there were officers that were standing there while people
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entered and were doing nothing about it. the treatment of january 6 suspects has been far different than the rioters and others accused of the goals including the department of interior that i asked garland about. january 6 suspects have interrogated by the fbi about the political beliefs such as whether they thought the 2020 election was fair. can you discuss the role the political motivations played in the treatment of january 6 suspects both in prison and in terms of prosecution? >> not only are they asked about their political views, but they've been asked about what kind of news they watch, asked whether they believe the 2020 election was stolen, their views on immigration. i have seen especially for one man that was sentenced for parading in the capital they retrieved social media posts from deleted facebook accounts that were negative against joe biden and nancy pelosi, and that was used as evidence to try to
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convince the judge successfully that this particular man should go to jail for three months for parading in the capital. >> my time is expired. thank you for being here. >> the gentleman's time has expired. and i'm very pleased to yield five minutes to the gentle lady from georgia. thank you for your service to this committee. >> thank you, madam chair. and good morning to the witnesses. i am really pleased that you all have been able to join us today as we continue to discuss this critically important piece of the criminal justice legislation, the first step act and to examine how the board of prisons has responded to the covid-19 pandemic and i remember specifically the day that the committee had a hearing and we also had the discussion on the compassionate release of nonviolent offenders under
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covid-19 conditions and today i'm glad that we are revisiting what appears to be the board of prisons stalled implementation and also the neglect and just basic house policies and practices for those that are incarcerated. we know the first step act was a major strive towards criminal justice reform designed to address the systemic issues in our federal prison system and this bipartisan piece of legislation was crafted to reform sentencing and improve prison conditions. and it measures and includes adding recidivism programs, sentencing based on good time credits and the rights of female inmates particularly female inmates who are mothers. so, the first step act for example requires feminine hygiene products to be free and largely prohibits the use of
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restraints on pregnant women and those that are in postpartum recovery. and despite these positive reforms, since the bill was signed into law december 21, 2018, many of these provisions have not been implemented. and it is our responsibility here as policymakers to ensure that transformative winds of this bill are fully being carried out. so, my questions today ms. goodwin thank you for joining us today. i really appreciate you being here. in your 2021 report, pregnant women in federal custody found that out of the board of prison policies the treatment and care of pregnant women only eight of the policies were fully aligned with the national guidance for the health and safety of pregnant women. the report found that the board of prisons improved their policies to align with national standards. can you attest to that? >> yes. thank you, congresswoman. that's correct.
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when we did the work looking at the care and treatment of pregnant women and doj custody, we found with the national standards, they were not fully aligning. they had not fully aligned with quite a number of them and those national standards speak to issues around providing nutrition, providing prenatal care, providing mental health services and we also looked at whether or not they were restraining pregnant women. and so, we made our recommendations to the bop and they agreed with the recommendation and they are in the process of fully aligning the ones we have a table where we've noted what was fully aligned and what was partially aligned so they are in the process of fully aligning the ones that we found to be deficient. however, we are leaving that recommendation open until all of those categories that we noted are fully aligned. so, we will be circling back to find out where things are. and then another recommendations that we had was with of the u.s.
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marshals about the restraining of pregnant women. >> thank you. and i think the committee would be more than interested to have access to that information and that data once you have access to it as well. i would also like to note since the pandemic, has the board of prisons implemented additional policies to protect pregnant women from the increased risk of the disease itself? my understanding is that they have. what is interesting about the pregnant women's report that we did, we did our last visit in january of 2020, right as everyone was beginning to understand, you know, how dangerous the pandemic, the covid virus was to forget and then in the process of pulling the report together, we did circle back to ask about what they were doing in terms of protecting pregnant women and so they talked about providing special housing, putting pregnant women in additional special locations to keep them
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away from the general population. but that's something we didn't go into a lot of detail in. it is something as we do future work on how they do work at something that we will definitely get to. >> thank you so much. we really appreciate that. and there again, also, i am so sorry for, you know, all that you appear to suffer through. and it's this kind of disturbing to hear that there may be others as well that are incarcerated that are going through some kind of seemed kind of conflicts and problems and with that, i will yield back. >> i would now like to recognize mr. tiffany for five minutes. >> thank you very much, madam chair for the hearing today added to all of the witnesses that are here today. it's good to have you all year. i would share a comment with regards to the testimony where
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he's talking about an independent assessment of covid. i would say we shouldn't just do the bureau of prisons we should do that as a whole of government, including the centers for disease control. there should be a full, thorough, independent review of all of the actions with regards to covid over the last couple of months. i would go back to march 30th of 2020 when the chair man of the judiciary committee urged the attorney general to assess all prisoners for release regardless of the type of institutions in which they are housed. the seriousness of their ovens e or the potential recidivism risk they may present. so, here we are today. we are talking about a significant issue, but this committee is going past the graveyard of what is the most important thing on the minds of americans at this point, and that is crime. maybe inflation, the border might be a more important for some but i've got to tell you for a lot of people especially in big cities, and i am hearing it from them, it is crime. they are deeply concerned about it.
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you see smashing going on across the country, wild west train robberies, carjackings all over the country especially in the big cities, and of course the murder rate is at an all-time high and what was it like 15 cities across america where we have been and we are not dealing with that. we are not dealing with that here today. november 21, 2021, darrell brooks drove his car through a christmas. injuring over 60 individuals and killing six, one of whom was an 8-year-old. in response, after seeing this horrific scene, we learned that he intentionally drove his suv through these parade goers. 2006 he pled guilty to statutory sexual seduction and a warrant was issued for his arrest for jumping bail. in 2020 he was charged with recklessly endangering safety being a felon in possession of a firearm, and later released on bail. and on november 21, he again was
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criminally charged for allegedly running over the mother of his child with a car. despite the long history, the milwaukee police said bail and a thousand dollars. here's what that district attorney said back in 2000. is there going to be an individual i divert or i put into treatment program who is going to go out and kill somebody? you bet. guaranteed. it's guaranteed to happen. it doesn't invalidate the overall approach. this is what's happening across the united states with these weak district attorneys. actually, they are worse than week. they are fostering crime. and today i call on the governor of wisconsin, who has the authority. he can rectify this problem with this district attorney in milwaukee county to relieve the district attorney of his duties. because he has done this before in the case of cassandra lutz who was given a fatal dose of
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heroin and he got out on low bail. so, we are seeing this all over the country. speaking of milwaukee, we had the milwaukee calling for they should prosecute south korean automakers because they are encouraging car theft in the united states. think about it. elected officials blaming a car company for the car thefts that go on in their city. it's crazy. think about the minnesota freedom fund, which of vice president harris in 2020 said we've got to get money to these people who are rioting in minneapolis and nearly burned the city down. well, she got plenty of bail money into the freedom fund and $1,500 went to the guy that is now committed a murder. that, ladies and gentlemen, is what is going on in america at this point. i'm going to go back and reread
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what the district attorney for milwaukee county wisconsin said in 2007. is there going to be an individual i diverge or put into a treatment program who is going to go out and kill somebody? you bet, guaranteed. it's guaranteed to happen. it doesn't invalidate the overall approach. they don't care about the criminals. they care about the criminals, they don't care about the victims. and it's time for us to begin looking out for victims. and i ask one last question before my time is up. do the january 6 defendants have a legitimate claim? >> i'm not quite sure what you mean in terms of a legitimate claim but i don't want to highlight i think that the things that are happening, from the january 6 defendants they are truly appalling. but i don't think that they are isolated to january 6 defendants. >> thank you very much. i agree with the short answer
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there. >> the gentleman's time is expired. thank you. i'm now pleased to welcome the gentle lady from pennsylvania and thank her for her service. ms. bean is recognized. >> thank you, madam chairwoman. i think you as we continue to grapple with this pandemic i think you and your committee for continuing to shine a light on this important issue. i'd like to start with you, ms. levi, and i think you so much for sharing your story, your experience with us. i have two brief questions. number one, how are you doing today, how are you and your mother and family doing today, and number two, do you think compassionate release is adequately and equitably being used? >> first of all, i'm doing great. good health. my mother is in good health. my mother she is just awesome. i can't say too much about her. she walks up the steps every day in the house. she's in good health and is just
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concerned, like i am, about the people that got left behind. now i can receive phone calls and she knows compassionate release is not being applied as it should be. most wardens refuse to even put this in for most people who are there and when they do come back, i came back denied before. i got denied a compassionate release -- >> even with your history of lung cancer -- >> yes, even with my history of lung cancer and initiating programs for the elderly, going to school, doing the things i was doing, even with all that. i got denied initially for
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compassionate release, yes. it is not being applied. the federal prisons should really take the initiative and start a program where it would be almost mandatory today people who qualify, who meet those needs, who really fit the criteria that it should be mandatory that they have compassionate release for these people, especially the elderly. >> thank you so much. i appreciate those updates and your common sense response. professor, with your troubling expertise and what you know about the inaccuracy of the reporting in terms of infection and death, you know, congress made clear that we intended for the bureau of prisons to more broadly use the compassionate release authority and this was
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even more important during the pandemic. i introduced this legislation, the emergency act that allows people to petition the federal courts directly in a public health emergency rather than waiting for the bop to act within 30 days. do you think this type of legislation would help, would be more effective in terms of the use of compassionate release, and maybe if you can add to that also, what can we do about the transparency of these numbers in the areas that you show? >> i think we've been more successful getting individuals out on compassionate release in front of the federal district court. 3,000 release compared to the federal bureau prison. that said i would like to caution even petitioning the federal court is not a perfect solution, because most judges have compassionate release. we've been living through this pandemic and we've become numb
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to the reality of what's happening in prisons, which i think is really important that we have the independent oversight into people in their reporting what is really happening in the federal prisons. but i do think that this act is a wonderful step forward. ..
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work to do.
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but, doctor goodwin, i'm interested in the gao findings that the bureau of prisons have been positioned for new programs and initiatives to help inmates prepare for the return. and can you share suggestions for actions to move this along? >> thank you for that question, congresswoman. i will go back to the report that we did on the staffing and the concerns that we've raised and talk about the challenges that that presents for individuals preparing for reentry. so if you don't have the appropriate staffing level, you don't have the folks to provide the drug treatment, the education programs or any of the other programs or activities that an inmate would need to help earn them time credits, so we've got the new proposed legislation out there, but we are also mindful that if the
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staffing numbers are not there, then the programs won't be there and at the inmates are not able to earn those time credits, and so that affects kind of what their entry looks like. we've also done work looking at the federal prison industries because that is also another way that, you know, to provide additional job skills to folks that are incarcerated, but if those programs are not in place, time credits are not getting earned and then when people are coming out of prison they have fewer job skills, so that is a concern that we have, absolutely. >> did you have anything to add? it's important that we are setting people up for success upon release otherwie end up in an endless cycle of incarceration and that is something to help any of us, so i would like to keep looking at
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>> that you have talked to
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individuals personally and they have expressed the conditions under which they were being held that seem to reflect the attitude and then to convey in that tweet. and on october 132021 and then to ask to investigate and the way they were being held in a facility and forth the us marshall services has moved. so are those two facts accurate quick. >> yes. >> madame chair what we need to know is what is the status of the department of justice investigation? that would be something with
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us marshals service thought it was wanted to move out of the very facility they asked him to look into that would be important for our committee in terms of the subcommittee to understand what is going on. i agree with what professor murphy said earlier we need to be concerned of the conditions of anyone and federal to i'm —- prison to make sure due process is followed there's a reason we all came together we all came together as an important first step. we are concerned about the compassion and due process that need to be involved with this type of situation rehabilitation concerned. it's important we get the answers from the department of justice on that. also it's important for this committee to balance everything lists constituents i get the privilege of
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representing is a dramatic increase in violence and there is a distinction we need to make and to be incarcerated and others need to look at a compassionate way to help them get on with their lives and be productive citizens. i guess maybe evan that miss kelly respond and then some of the things we just outlined. >> thank you so much and thank you for your attention to this matter for acknowledging that mistreatment of january 6. in the united states who defended americans to protest the election of joe biden will not treated the same as other political protesters including those of similar if not more dangerous offenses. it's important to know that
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the justice department continues to see seek pre- child attention for january 6 defendant extending their detention orders by federal judges. there is no compassion or consideration at least in the system and it sounds like that extends throughout the country certainly when it comes to the situation. so once again i appreciate the committee's attention to this. spent the defendants from january 6 had the ability and the privilege. and people who are able to give the voices. so i want to be careful because when we talk about this it's quite similar for most of mind to be in pretrial
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convention so black and brown individuals and those across the country. the other thing i want to address is the fact that there has been an increase in violent crime we are all concerned about that that mass incarceration is not a way out. so i want to be careful when we think about potential solutions. >> my time is up. so what we have seen from certain prosecutors and with the increase of violent crime. and then to make sure bad guys off the street but also to treat people with the due process and those principles of our great country. that to me is where the focus
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has to be. >> your time has expired. >> i think the cause of crime with the economic factors given the pandemic we have been living through. i am encouraged incarceration not be the answer. >> thank you for your questioning i yield five minutes to the gentle lady and thank you for her service. you are recognized. >> i appreciate you for convening this hearing. and those that are incarcerated and with this big push when we were talking about mostly black and brown people. but as the congresswoman i have heard from my
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constituents. many of whom have shared the unsafe and unsanitary inhumane conditions while incarcerated. from the lockdown to being denied after months on and in the prison system. the three years it has deprived thousands of people in the federal prisons of their health and well-being. more than one of five federal incarcerated has been affected with covid-19 and 279 people have died. and then you bureau policy under the c.a.r.e.s. act it has saved lives. thank you for your powerful advocacy. can you talk to us about your experience to stay home under supervision and the
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psychological impact to go back to jail during your home confinement? >> this may be the first time i've even addressed the psychological. you come home and you have expectations and just to show yourself or to show your family that you are changed but that is your dream and your hope that they can see who you are now. so that's what i begin to do is advocate i try to make sure there's anything i can do and
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what that experiences like and what i thought was needed. back into reentry. and then i would refuse anyone of them. and those are the kinds of things that are lacking in that reentry process i would 169 pounds now i have 138 pounds. just those 21 days back inside is devastating.
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especially what you know you're doing the right things. i'm not just talking about me. >> but there are thousands of people that over their heads with home confinement so whatever you all can do to make compassion release effective and compassionate. >> that is our duty as lawmakers. and it is imperative we prioritize health and safety of all people. not all agree with us politically. but this is the only way to do it. we have to move people out of prisons and jails and in their
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communities. i ask unanimous consent for the record to seek clarification on the implementation on the guidance. >> without objection so ordered. >> also unanimous consent testimony on the challenges upon confinement on earned time credits. >> without objection. so ordered. and that uncertainty if they would have to stay home. thank you and i yelled back stick i'm pleased now to represent and recognize the gentleman for five minutes.
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>> . thank you had rather have a cold mike been a hot mic. but congress appropriated $300 million to deal with covid can you tell us how much money has been spent? we are in the process to examine all of that. we submitted a request to ask for a layout or a detailed listing of what the money has gone to. so what i will do a circle back. i will connect with your staff and get back to you on that. >> and walk through the covid killers if those are working
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because some of that money may have been spent on things that did not work out. and then to have an understaffed jail that is same for a prison. and with those correctional officers every year can you tell us if they recruited or retained that were funded? >> first i want to go back but i will circle back to you for that information. and in terms of recruiting that came up with the staffing report and they started to recruit additional officers
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because that report was one or two years ago and particularly if they have been successful in this era of covid. but i can circle back to you on that and reach out. >> and from the correctional officers that when we identify covid of positive they walked through the compound possibly exposing everybody else and then with those isolation units. that may not be the best idea and to walked them through the facility and allow the facility in the process of doing that. can you see if that's a possibility of the correctional facilities
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quick. >> we can look into that and with union officials and those officers that was one of the concerns. i will see what we can find out for you. >> i want to take a little bit of time to point out the officers at these correctional facilities have the mandate but the inmates do not. so the irony. and then to be denied medical exemption nobody has been granted a medical exemption. and now 4495 have received
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religious exemption. but it's a shame they have to apply for religious exemption if they have the medical and we have failed to recognize and to submit for the record and then by covid-19 vaccination status and previous diagnosis. it shows that prior covid infection and then the guards are having their prior infection immunity recognize. i would like to submit for the record mmwr report showing that natural immunity is better than the vaccine and also the reuters article that highlights that. >> without objection so ordered.
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>> and just to have a concern a large number. i do hope we get correctional officers in the next year. >> thank you very much and now the gentleman from rhode island is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you for holding this important and timely hearing. we have heard a lot about violent crime and smash and grab. i just wish with the importance of prosecuting the smash and grab. we also hearing a lot of concern for mark colleagues and that is welcome news and
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worried about that for a very long time. and we brought them their newfound enthusiasm. so that compassionate release is releasing criminals into the community but that 24000 people were transferred to home confinement and only three were arrested for new crimes. and that is effective the pandemic. and decisions to mitigate the risk and then to wear protective masks. and those from those that are incarcerated. and so for the attorney
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general garland to reverse the opinion that has the option to remain on home confinement with the risk of covid. and then what should it do to reduce the spread and also treatment of individuals quick. >> one of the most pressing issues is to protect people that are high risk. and who is unvaccinated. we have to protect those people and prioritize them from vaccination and we find those high risk people and talk to them and they have lots of questions about the
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vaccine, legitimate questions. every one of those is a potential life saved and when people are in quarantined because they have been exposed we have to find those high risk people everyday and check on them for symptoms. the cdc let's do this for everybody. nobody asked about new symptoms during quarantine and those high risk folks if we find their symptoms early we can save lives and then in medical isolation and then to have a lower threshold and then to have a nurse call the doctor if it's a high risk person with a pulse rate of 92 in a person with diabetes is probably more concerning than 105 and a young person. >> i just want one more question. thank you for that. thank you for all the work you have done you conclude 280 people have died in the
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federal bureau of prisons and shown those deaths that you have been able to track and three of those were granted. so that the bureau of prisons were to be utilized. and then to allow the court to grant compassionate release directly with that be helpful in this context as well quick. >> those three people the motion were granted they ultimately died. we know they grant about 3000 compassionate release. those are 3000 people certainly would not have died. so i do think that is accurate
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but we also know 297 people who have died and bureau of prisons custody. with that data for the federal court. and then getting that data. so a piece of legislation that would be a step forward and with the federal judiciary. >> before i yield back, thank you for sharing your story. i yield back. >> your time is expired.
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do you have any number one —- members coming on quick. >> i do not see any additional who have come on to ask questions and i yield back. >> so thank you very much i'm happy to represent the gentle man from california we will come back to him. >> thank you madame chair for holding this very important hearing. during the covid-19 pandemic
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and then it has just pointed out. and then think your here sharing your story with all of america. and then long to failed to recognize the dignity the majority of them are black and brown. this morning we heard the minority witness and those on the other side of the aisle of those that have been incarcerated january 6 terrorist attack against our country mr. jordan mentioned he is concerned about compassion and due process. i am so glad to hear that. and includes a list of things of a delay of hearing in the belief there is a lack of due process. and the fact that some of those individuals they are fighting for don't have a
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criminal record. and so the concern that was articulated is exactly the same concern that are expressing about migrants in custody and a lack of due process, lack of prior criminal record and link the incarceration on civil charges. it is truly my help they are concerned would be extended to the micro population in our custody as well one day i hope. when the majority of americans were working and learning from home to avoid spreading or contracting coronavirus prison and i.c.e. facilities where the side of rapid unmitigated spread and unfortunately instead of embracing these for home confinement many contain the spread of covid-19 with
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heavy reliance psychologically harmful tactic that they historically employed as punishment and those decisions cost lives not just the lives of 270 incarcerated people but the lives of seven staff members as well so madame chair thank you for the opportunity to discuss how congress can act and how we can do better in our country. in your statement that it has not just included the bureau prisons but it has cover the i.c.e. detention facilities as well do you see similar problems as you have with the bureau of prisons with the lack of oversight? >> i think in the micro sense some of the same feelings
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protecting high risk people are apparent but the larger problem that persisted is that there is no independent oversight with the quality of healthcare in the settings otherwise we'll get the same outcome and preventable death over and over. >> you are absolutely right i will give you the desperate need for the healthcare oversight not just covid that proceeding covid. one example is we have a number of i.c.e. detainees in the el paso facility who went on a hunger strike and then as their health deteriorated the same doctor that was overseeing their care then that they were tied down and force-fed against their will. and then it was that same physician was given the authority even the decline of
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the mental health as well. i call for independent review and oversight. can you articulate across the board we need that independence? >> we accept this as a core requirement in every other aspect of healthcare in the united states. with the clinic or hospital we understand you don't let the hospital decide if they did a good or bad job. we need to use the skills of quality assurance and independence to figure out if healthcare is adequate. for some reason that we all know that are complicated for decades we decided to carve out healthcare behind bars to let the people decide if it is
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good enough and if it's appropriate scope of service. so we get what we should express one —- expect because we don't have independent oversight. >> thank you to our panelist and i yield back. >> thank you for raising i said think we have seen the articles and then from the perspective of the detention facilities thank you. i am pleased to recognize another well serving member 25 minutes. >> thank you for holding this important hearing i'm disappointed the bureau of prisons is not with us and know they will be a sometime in the future. we had the head of the bureau prisons i don't think he did his job very well and it's
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unfortunate one of the best things president trump did she get those vaccines available that warp speed to his credit. but he also got this bill passed. and then to their with michael cohen. he is incarcerated and still has certain limitations on parole. and then the fresh start giving him the time he
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deserves. as a political prisoner because he would just facilitate mr. trump's work with stormy daniels. and there's nobody in the system on compassionate release do you think there should be an individual might be arms but and with those recommendations that should qualify for compassionate release quick. >> i certainly do. that with that yes. and then that my word in took
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over 30 days which i could have availed myself. and then to put in an application for compassionate release because that was denied. so maybe the committee i don't know you want to call it but somebody besides the warden in the institution or outside the institution and those people who we already know to qualify and have been vetted but it's just not being processed. >> i'm sorry about what happened with you and that the chairwoman would look into
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that. i've been an advocate for compassionate release for a decade at least it wasn't just covid but those incarcerated for a long time and as old as they could be. they didn't have a physical ability to commit a crime anymore but yet still incarcerated they should be released for compassionate and economic reasons. that's what we need to do. what implications from those in custody are the current administration quick. >> thank you. the work we are currently doing with the risk assessment and how it is that particular requirement. that work is ongoing progress we get closer to preliminary
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findings we can circle back for that information. >> hopefully they will have a progressive minded had a bureau of prisons. and those who did not do his job with that first step language. what role do they play in criminal justice reform under the c.a.r.e.s. act and first step act quick. >> to really import parts for incarceration and for public health purposes so more standardized procedures and compassionate release and expanded use of the c.a.r.e.s. act home confinement are incredibly important for us to afford for mass incarceration. >> thank you to all the witnesses for testifying.
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it's wonderful to listen to my republican colleagues. we have some new allies. through strange friends through strange conditions and i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman's time is expired i hear strike for unity. thank you very much. i express my appreciation and to the team thank you so very much and let me experience on —- express my appreciation
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thank you very much. if i might yield myself a few minutes for two witnesses. do you have a matter you would like to address as we close? >> thank you madame chair. and again, thank all the witnesses. and i just want to comment on some specific things that are takeaways. we appreciate your testimony that highlighted that is critical that we hear those first-hand experiences that you underwent and we appreciate your willingness. and with your comments today
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so it is critical not just within the prison system but generically to understand who are the most vulnerable and high-risk and that is a failure to care for people who are particularly vulnerable. professor, thank you because the idea of the covid data that comes out if it is missing then that is critical to see what is needs to be fixed. i am looking forward to
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getting a bureau prison representative to testify to us. is it professor good one - - goodwin? doctor goodwin? >> doctor. >> i am sorry. i appreciate with regard to best policies and practices particularly of internal communications within the failures and i do think that communication needs improved. thank you. it is a statistic that you laid out with that 11 percent were wrongfully assessed for risk although those underlying variables were in between.
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and the thoughtful work of the january 6 detainees. and also the testimony from some members that there may be a wider spread problem then we knew about. just a couple of quick comments with regard that there hadn't been universal condemnation of violence. i cannot think of anybody who did not condemn but then all should be condemned. i think the hyperbole it gets in the way and we politicize things that don't need to be politicized. violence is violence. also and the department of
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justice was compelled by a court to investigate what's going on in the dc jail. and not just leading a letter to the department of justice what is the progress of the investigation response to the federal judge? and then to hold doj accountable with the federal court indicated. i'm also looking forward and we really need to get to the bottom. so much came out of this hearing today. i appreciate it. i yield back. >> thank you ranking member
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and for physically highlighting the great insight all of the witnesses gave and let me say to all of our members that the head of the prison bureau resigned, i would say hastily about two weeks ago. but we are never far away from the will of the numbers but also our thoughts are already present in the thoughts that you have. we will have a fear of presidents hearing on february d with those officials just think of the approach that we took. we had an expansive fact-finding group of witnesses that have provided enormous insight and reliance on their testimony. and i want to take a quick moment doctor goodwin, we will
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probably engage with you further as well. and thank you that what tells us we should be concerned about the courts that have not been as friendly toward compassionate release and we should be looking at all options how that system works and with doctor hamilton as well so that the first step act can work. 's and i will pose the questions to you that i was not able to raise. thank you for your research and your work you are my personal hero because you have not been silent by your
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experience. and im grateful but i want to follow up on the emotional ties you have to those that are still there because of those conditions and also the emotional toll that i don't want to presume but inside the federal government of prisons. so thank you for not being silence about the condition. those left behind and those that died that i corresponded with.
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you cannot just forget what i went through. and what they are going through right now but that's a sad tale being told. talking about people and they are not even getting two hours out. they have showers and everything. it is a sad situation i have to hear from them they are my friends would you comment on those that are there that are
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eligible or denied quick. >> yes those that are sick in wheelchairs that cannot get around this is she could do that one hour they reduce their phone calls to five minutes and with that emotional impact and to be lockdown like that knowing that you are eligible and knowing that you submitted paperwork and it is denied and your attorney has told you it's frustrating for me and i
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will continue to speak out emotionally but it gives you more drive. >> you have done so much for us in that testimony and you highlighted some crucial issues with healthcare i thank you should understand these are still human beings and the bureau of prisons so people of all categories that are incarcerated so can you comment is there any standard criteria what doctors or nurses or professionals are hired in the bureau is that consistency and quality in the
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numbers can you determine that those deficiencies continuing or contributing to what you say are bad health conditions and a lack of understanding? >> yes. thank you. i think certainly there are problems recruiting staff all over i do think there are some sound reasons why a lot of health staff are reluctant to take these jobs is not just the physical environment and not so much in my experience as a doctor that we are afraid of our patients but these are places we cannot provide ethical care and
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evidence-based care so until and unless we have independent oversight until they know their delivery of care comes from a line of power and authority that goes to a real health organization then it will be difficult to get the staff to fill those positions that's the need for independent oversight coming from health authority not a law enforcement agency. >> thank you all so much this hearing today will be an effective fact finding basis for the february 3rd hearing each of you have contributed in your own way i do want to conclude my remarks and it is not releasing eligible inmates
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and that an —- cnn article for incarcerated persons dealing with the first step act and now also dealing with human beings and their families it is our responsibility as a committee to be vigilant i want to see complete reform from the federal prison system so it meet society's needs those that have violated the law but also have a strong commitment to the response as well and i think they are mutually exclusive this concludes today's hearing
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without objection to submit additional written questionsur.
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>> governors and distinguished guests, please welcome to the podium, the chair of the national governors association, governor asa hutchinson from arkansas. [applause] >> thank you. i don't know about you, but we really enjoyed this nga. everybody has participated. i also think the spouses are having a great time and they have been a very important part of our gatherings as well.

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