WASHINGTON — Congressman Lance Gooden (R-Texas), joined by Reps. Fred Keller (R-Pa.), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), Billy Long (R-Mo.) and Scott Perry (R-Pa.), sent a letter to the Director of Federal Bureau of Prisons Michael Carvajal requesting clarification on how the Bureau oversees federal inmates’ bank accounts, citing reports about restitution being withheld from victims and inmate participation in illicit activities.
“News of Larry Nassar withholding restitution to his rape victims may be getting the attention, but he is only one of a long list of federal inmates who have been allowed to continue victimizing people from behind bars,” said Congressman Gooden. “This is neither justice nor serving the intent of criminals paying their debt to society. The American people deserve answers.”
In the letter, the congressmen cite “alarming reports” of the Bureau of Prison’s failure to comply with existing laws and Department of Justice policy to ensure inmates are paying all financial obligations, including but not limited to restitution, fines, special assessments, child support, alimony, costs of incarceration, and costs of prosecution. This coupled with the lax requirements of the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program means that inmates have not only been withholding restitution to their victims but also participating in illicit financial activity.
The Bureau currently manages over $100 million in inmate accounts, which are not subject to any of the regulatory scrutiny a financial institution of that size would be, creating a system rife with abuse, money laundering, and corruption. Improving the Bureau’s ability to manage the Trust Fund and collaborate with law enforcement will prevent illicit financial activity and ensure inmates are honoring their financial obligations to the best of their ability.
To read the full letter to Mr. Carvajal, click here.