**FILE** Eleanor Holmes Norton represents D.C. in the U.S. Congress. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** Eleanor Holmes Norton represents D.C. in the U.S. Congress. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced a bill today to require the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to provide information to the District of Columbia government on individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies to help ensure that D.C. has services ready for these individuals when they return home from prison.

This bill is necessary because BOP houses D.C. residents convicted of D.C. Code felonies, and BOP contends that federal privacy laws prohibit it from sharing information on such individuals with D.C., Congresswoman Norton stated.

“Individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies face significant hurdles in preparing to return to society because most are in BOP facilities hundreds or even thousands of miles from the District, their families and their loved ones,” Norton said in her introductory statement.

“Because they are frequently housed so far away from the District, coordinating returning citizens’ reentry into society is difficult.”

Under the bill, the District government would know the health and other needs of individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies before they are released from BOP custody.

Individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies are the only individuals required to be housed by BOP for violations of non-federal laws.

“Today, I rise to introduce the District of Columbia Code Returning Citizens Coordination Act.  This bill would require the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to provide information to the District of Columbia government on individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies under BOP jurisdiction to help ensure the District has services ready when such individuals return home,” Congresswoman Norton stated.

Individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies face significant hurdles in preparing to return to society because most are in BOP facilities hundreds or even thousands of miles from the District, their families and their loved ones,” Congresswoman Norton continued. 

“Because they are frequently housed so far away from the District, coordinating returning citizens’ reentry into society is difficult,” she said.

She continued:

“Under the bill, the District government would know the health and other needs of individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies before they are released from BOP custody. 

“Individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies are the only individuals required to be housed by BOP for violations of non-federal laws.

“Currently, under federal privacy laws, BOP is allowed to share information on individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies with the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia (CSOSA), since CSOSA is also a federal agency, but not with the D.C. government. 

“This bill would require BOP to treat the D.C. government as they do other federal agencies for the purposes of—but only for the purposes of—federal privacy laws, such as the Privacy Act, so that the District government can obtain the necessary information to provide appropriate services to returning citizens.

“Specifically, the bill would require BOP, on an annual basis, to provide the District government the following information on individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies under BOP jurisdiction: the name, date of birth and Federal Register number, the facility where housed and the scheduled release date. 

“In addition, upon the request of the D.C government, BOP would have to provide the D.C. government with the same information it provides CSOSA on such individuals.

“I strongly urge my colleagues to support this legislation.”

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Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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