President Biden on Tuesday signed into law a bill that requires the Federal Bureau of Prisons to fix broken prison surveillance cameras and overhaul outdated security systems.
The bipartisan Prison Camera Reform Act passed in the Senate last year and in the House on December 14, amid reports of unchecked staff sexual abuse, inmate escapes and high-profile prisoner deaths, like the 2019 suicide of jailed financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA), who sponsored the legislation, said broken prison cameras were “enabling corruption, misconduct and abuse.”
Under the new law the Bureau of Prisons must submit a report to Congress within three months detailing deficiencies and a plan on making needed improvements. All necessary upgrades must be achieved within three years, and the Bureau must submit an annual progress report to lawmakers.
The Bureau of Prisons said in a statement it “appreciates the work of Senator Ossoff and other members of Congress, as well as the President of the United States.”
Along with Ossoff, the bill was backed by leaders in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA) and Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA) introduced the bill in the House.
The federal correctional workers union, the Council of Prison Locals, also supported the measure.