After widespread staff sexual assault, inmate escapes, and high-profile fatalities, President Joe Biden signed a bill Tuesday ordering the federal Bureau of Prisons to update obsolete security systems and fix malfunctioning surveillance cameras.
The Bureau of Prisons must assess and improve the security camera, radio, and public address systems at its 122 facilities by the bipartisan Prison Camera Reform Act, which passed the Senate last year and the House on December 14.
Within three months, the agency must provide Congress with a report outlining its failings and a strategy for implementing necessary improvements.
The bureau must make those upgrades within three years, and legislators must receive yearly progress reports.
Inmates have escaped from federal prisons thanks to malfunctioning and subpar security cameras, which has complicated investigations.
Inmates have died due to them, notably businessman Jeffrey Epstein in 2019 at a federal prison in New York City.
The internal inspector of the Justice Department discovered that inadequate security video systems had hampered investigations into employee misbehavior, the introduction of contraband, civil rights violations, and inmate deaths.
The Associated Press revealed in March that widespread staff mistreatment of inmates at a federal women’s jail in Dublin, California resulted from a lack of security cameras in critical locations.
“Broken prison camera systems are enabling corruption, misconduct, and abuse,” said the legislation’s sponsor, Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga.