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S. 2742 (116th): Federal Prisons Accountability Act of 2019


The text of the bill below is as of Oct 30, 2019 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.

Summary of this bill

Should one of the more important Justice Department positions require Senate confirmation, as most of the department’s other top positions do?

Context

Approximately 1,200 presidentially-appointed government positions require Senate approval, but many others don’t. One position that doesn’t require Senate confirmation is the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, currently filled by Kathleen Hawk Sawyer.

It’s not a small job, with responsibility for 122 federal prisons, 177,000 federal inmates, and 36,000 staff.

The director position is usually rarely in the news, but former Director Hugh Hurwitz earned headlines for his August removal by Attorney General William Barr. Hurwitz led the bureau while perhaps ...


II

116th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 2742

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

October 30, 2019

(for himself, Mr. Lee, Ms. Sinema, and Mr. Paul) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL

To require the Director of the Bureau of Prisons to be appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Federal Prisons Accountability Act of 2019.

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

The Director of the Bureau of Prisons leads a law enforcement component of the Department of Justice with a budget that exceeds $7,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2018.

(2)

With the exception of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Prisons has the largest operating budget of any unit within the Department of Justice.

(3)

The Director of the Bureau of Prisons oversees 122 facilities and is responsible for the welfare of more than 176,000 Federal inmates.

(4)

The Director of the Bureau of Prisons supervises more than 36,000 employees, many of whom operate in hazardous environments that involve regular interaction with violent offenders.

(5)

Within the Department of Justice, in addition to those officials who oversee litigating components, the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Director of the Community Relations Service, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Director of the Office on Violence Against Women, the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Deputy Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Director of the United States Marshals Service, 94 United States Marshals, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, and the Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices, are all appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(6)

Despite the significant budget of the Bureau of Prisons and the vast number of people under the responsibility of the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, the Director is not appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

3.

Director of the Bureau of Prisons

(a)

In general

Section 4041 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking appointed by and serving directly under the Attorney General. and inserting the following: who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Director shall serve directly under the Attorney General..

(b)

Incumbent

Notwithstanding the amendment made by subsection (a), the individual serving as the Director of the Bureau of Prisons on the date of enactment of this Act may serve as the Director of the Bureau of Prisons until the date that is 3 months after the date of enactment of this Act.

(c)

Rule of construction

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the ability of the President to appoint the individual serving as the Director of the Bureau of Prisons on the date of enactment of this Act to the position of the Director of the Bureau of Prisons in accordance with section 4041 of title 18, United States Code, as amended by subsection (a).

(d)

Term

(1)

In general

Section 4041 of title 18, United States Code, as amended by subsection (a), is amended by inserting after consent of the Senate. the following: The Director shall be appointed for a term of 10 years, except that an individual appointed to the position of Director may continue to serve in that position until another individual is appointed to that position, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. An individual may not serve more than 1 term as Director..

(2)

Applicability

The amendment made by paragraph (1) shall apply to appointments made on or after the date of enactment of this Act.