Danbury Reprieve

Today, Senator Chris Murphy (D.-CT) issued a press release announcing the Bureau of Prisons’ modification of its plans for FCI Danbury’s re-missioning:

Previously, BOP had announced that it would convert the FCI from a secure facility for women into a men’s facility. This conversion would have left one of the most populated regions of the country without a secure facility for women. While BOP still intends to turn the existing secure facility into a men’s facility, it now intends to turn the existing minimum security Satellite Camp for women located near the FCI into a low security facility for women. It will also maintain a minimum security camp facility for women near the new FCI by constructing a new building next to the FCI.[…]

It is expected that the entire transfer and construction process will take about 18 months to complete. BOP plans to move the female U.S. citizen inmates currently housed at the FCI to various locations around the country near their residences after their release. BOP will also move some of the current inmates with upcoming release dates to Residential Reentry Centers, or halfway houses, and others will be moved to the satellite camp. The agency has assured the senators that it is making every effort to keep the U.S. citizen inmates in the Northeast and maintain the same level of programming available by the end of the process.

I understand that the new Danbury women’s FCI will have 200 beds, as will the new camp. Also, as the announcement reflects, many FCI prisoners are still to be transferred from Danbury, most notably female non-US citizens, who are to be moved to FCI Aliceville (AL).

Not an ideal resolution but much better than what was intended. Significant credit goes to the various Senators, judges, professors, criminal justice professionals, public advocacy groups and their respective leadership, concerned citizens, etc. that weighed in on this important issue. Credit also goes to the BOP, which, through this changed course, both acknowledges the importance of having beds near prisoners’ families and children and displays the courage to reconsider and correct misguided decisions — something we don’t always see in Washington. While there remains a disparate impact for non-US citizens and their loved ones, it is (unfortunately) largely the same as the one many male prisoners experience.

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