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Senate Letter to Director of FBOP re relocation of female inmates Danbury FCI, US Senate, 2013

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October 4, 2013
The Honorable Charles E. Samuels, Jr.
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street NW
Washington, DC 20534
Dear Director Samuels:
Thank you for your response to our letter of August 2, which expressed a number of concerns
over the proposed relocation of the female inmates who are cuiTently housed at the Federal
Correctional Institution (FCI) in Danbury, Connecticut. The analysis included in your letter
provides a level of detail that was not previously available, and is helpful as we continue to
evaluate the proposal put forward by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
We appreciate the BOP's goals ofreducing overall prison crowding and attempting to locate
inmates as close as possible to their release residences. However, we continue to have concerns
with the BOP's plan with respect to the Danbury facility, and believe there are a number of
questions that remain to be answered before proceeding with the.mission change.
Your letter notes that there are 348 inmates (not including non-citizens or those who will be
released prior to the end of the year) from Northeast or Mid-Atlantic states currently at FCI
Danbury. Those inmates are slated to be transferred either to the minimum security FCI Danbury
camp, the Secure Female Facility in Hazelton, West Virginia, or the Federal Detention Center in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; as a result, you claim, approximately 243 of them will be closer to
their residences than they are now. This assertion raises some additional questions:
• Realistically, how much additional capacity exists to relocate inmates to the FCI Danbury
camp, which cuiTently houses about 200 inmates? How many of the low security inmates
currently at FCI Danbury are eligible to be housed in the minimum security camp?
• We understand that FDC Philadelphia is an administrative facility that has been used for
pre-trial inmates; what capacity does this facility have to house sentenced inmates, and
how many FCI Danbury inmates do you expect to relocate there?
• Although the Hazelton, West Virginia facility may be closer to some inmates' residences
in strictly geographic terms, that does not necessarily translate to ease of access. What
means exist to help families access the Hazelton prison? As previously noted, FCI
Danbury is located along a densely populated urban corridor and is easily accessible by
car and public transportation; do you anticipate that it will be more difficult for people to
visit Hazelton than Danbury?
• While your response addresses the 348 women from the Northeast curTently housed at
Danbury, it fails to adequately address the permanent lack of a female facility in the
Northeast to house future imnates. What efforts will be made to ensure that future female
inmates from the Northeast are housed as close to family as possible?
We continue to be concerned with the status of the non-citizen inmates currently housed at FCI
Danbury as well. The data you provided indicated that many of them either have residences in

Director Samuels
October 4, 2013
Page 2 of3
the Northeast or were sentenced there, and it is very possible that they have family- including
U.S. citi zen family-in the area. Your letter indicates that these inmates will be moved without
an effort to keep them near their fam ilies, an approach we find troubling. Where do you expect to
transfer the maj ority of these inmates, and will there be any consideration given to providing
family visitation for them?
Your letter also refers to the fact that the Aliceville, Alabama prison has long been planned as a
female facility. While that is true, Congressional intent did not assume that building that facility
would result in no federal prison facilities for women in the Northeast- which will be the
consequence ifFCI Danbury is converted to a male facility. Ofthe approximately 19 BOP
facilities now available for women, 8 are in the Southeast, 7 are in the Southwest, and 2 are in
the Midwest; FCI Danbury and its small camp are cunently the only women's facilities in the
Northeast. On the other hand , there are 25 male prison facilities in the Northeast. As you note,
there are far more men than women in the federal prison system, and COlTespondingly far more
facilities to house them; a more balanced geographic distribution of women's faciliti es is
therefore even more critical in order to keep female inmates closer to their residences, given the
sparse number of facilities for them. Has any consideration been given to redesignating one of
the eight women ' s facilities in the Southeast, or one of the seven women' s facilities in the
Southwest, to house male inmates, instead of converting FCI Danbury? What changes would that
require, and could it potentiall y result in more inmates being closer to their residences?
Recognizing that overcrowding in the federal prison system is a serious issue, and that women
make up a small percentage of the overall prison population, it is nonetheless critical that we
ensure that female inmates are treated equitably. According to the data you provided, 59% of the
inmates at FCI Danbury have a child under the age of21, which only serves to underscore the
importance of family access. Allowing inmates to stay connected to thei r families and loved ones
is important for all inmates, but it is particularly important-for both inmates and their
families- in the case of mothers with young children.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary intends to hold an oversight hearing on the Bureau of
Prisons later this month, and this issue may well be addressed at that hearing. Furthermore, given
the current lapse in federal appropriations, we believe it would be imprudent to spend the
estimated $ 1.1 million it would cost to transfer inmates at this time. We therefore urge you to
continue your suspension of non-routine transfers from FCI Danbury. To be clear, this is not a
request to shut down all inmate transfers from Danbury but rather to continue to suspend
Danbury' s mission change from a female to male fac ility. In addition, we request a meeting with
you to discuss this matter, particularly as new infmmation becomes available. We look fo rward
to continuing to work with you on this issue, and appreciate your responsiveness to our concerns.

United States Senator

United States Senator

Director Samuels
October 4, 2013
Page 3 of3

United States Senator

United States Senator

United States Senator

United States Senator

United Stat s Senator

United States Senator

United States Senator