skip to main content

H.R. 1890 (110th): Public Safety Act

The text of the bill below is as of Apr 17, 2007 (Introduced).



1st Session

H. R. 1890


April 17, 2007

(for himself, Mr. LoBiondo, Mr. Ellsworth, Mr. Murtha, Mr. Brady of Pennsylvania, Ms. Kilpatrick, Mrs. McCarthy of New York, Ms. Jackson-Lee of Texas, Mr. Miller of Florida, and Mr. LaHood) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To ensure that the incarceration of inmates is not provided by private contractors or vendors and that persons charged with or convicted of an offense against the United States shall be housed in facilities managed and maintained by Federal, State, or local governments.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Public Safety Act.



The Congress finds the following:


The issues of safety, liability, accountability, and cost are the paramount issues in running corrections facilities.


In recent years, the privatization of facilities for persons previously incarcerated by governmental entities has resulted in frequent escapes by violent criminals, riots resulting in extensive damage, prisoner violence, and incidents of prisoner abuse by staff.


In some instances, the courts have prohibited the transfer of additional convicts to private prisons because of the danger to prisoners and the community.


Frequent escapes and riots at private facilities result in expensive law enforcement costs for State and local governments.


The need to make profits creates incentives for private contractors to underfund mechanisms that provide for the security of the facility and the safety of the inmates, corrections staff, and neighboring community.


The 1997 Supreme Court ruling in Richardson v. McKnight, which held that the qualified immunity that shields State and local correctional officers does not apply to private prison personnel, exposes State and local governments to liability for the actions of private corporations.


Additional liability issues arise when inmates are transferred outside the jurisdiction of a contracting State.


Studies on private correctional facilities have been unable to demonstrate any significant cost savings in the privatization of corrections facilities.


The imposition of punishment on errant citizens through incarceration requires State and local governments to exercise their coercive police powers over individuals. These powers, including the authority to use force over a private citizen, should not be delegated to another private party.


Prohibition on use of Federal funds


In general

Funds provided by the Federal Government to a State or local government for the purpose of providing core correctional services may not be used to contract with private contractors or vendors to provide such services.



For purposes of this section, the term core correctional services means the housing, safeguarding, protecting, and disciplining of persons charged with or convicted of an offense.


Enhancing public safety and security in the duties of the Bureau of Prisons

Section 4042(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended—


by redesignating paragraph (5) as paragraph (7);


by striking and at the end of paragraph (4); and


by inserting after paragraph (4) the following:


provide for any penal or correctional facility or institution (except for nonprofit community correctional confinement, such as halfway houses), confining any person convicted of any offense against the United States, to be under the direction of the Director of the Bureau of Prisons and to be managed and maintained by employees of Federal, State, or local governments;


provide for the housing, safeguarding, protection, and disciplining of any person charged with or convicted of any offense against the United States (except persons in nonprofit community correctional confinement, such as halfway houses), to be conducted and carried out by individuals who are employees of Federal, State, or local governments; and.