McBath, Keller Introduce Bill to Reform Federal Prison Camera Usage

Legislation would upgrade existing equipment to better protect correctional officers, inmates

November 16, 2021

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06) and Rep. Fred Keller (PA-12) introduced the Prison Camera Reform Actwhich would address critical deficiencies in the surveillance and communication equipment used in federal prisons.

This legislation follows the findings of a report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) outlining the extent to which outdated and inadequate equipment (including security cameras, radios, and public address devices) jeopardize the safety of the nation’s correctional officers and inmates and make it more difficult for investigators to substantiate incidents of misconduct. 

The Prison Camera Reform Act would direct the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to evaluate the condition of its security and communications equipment and implement a plan to address any deficiencies discovered during the evaluation. The BOP would then have three years to fully implement these improvements.

“We cannot allow broken security systems in our prisons to put our corrections officers, public safety, or civil rights at risk,” said McBath. “We have seen, time and again, issues with inmates in camera blind spots, lost footage of incidents, or equipment failures that led to violence or civil rights abuses. We must do more to ensure safety and security, defend civil rights, and demand accountability in our prison systems.”

“The outstanding men and women who work in our nation’s correctional facilities deal with dangerous situations every single day; they deserve access to the resources necessary to keep themselves and the inmates whom they protect safe,” said Keller. “Thank you to Congresswoman McBath for her leadership on this issue as we work to overhaul the BOP’s outdated equipment and equip corrections officers with the proper tools needed to perform their jobs effectively.”

Full text of the Prison Camera Reform Act is available here.