WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement regarding a report that Federal prison inmates are keeping large sums of money in government-run deposit accounts run by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Per reporting by The Washington Post, there are more than 20 inmate accounts holding more than $100,000 each for a total exceeding $3 million. In all, the combined value of such inmate accounts recently topped $100 million.
“This reporting by The Washington Post raises serious concerns about this little-known program run by the Bureau of Prisons. Congress enacted a law nearly two decades ago requiring inmates to pay what they owe (victim restitution, court fines, child support, etc.) — now we must ensure that the Bureau of Prisons is enforcing the rules on the books. Unfortunately, at a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, BOP Director Carvajal, who is responsible for overseeing this program, was unable to provide clear answers when I asked how BOP assesses money in inmate accounts to pay prisoner debts. This is unacceptable. We must also ensure that BOP accounts aren’t used to facilitate money laundering and other criminal activity, as the reporting suggests.
“As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will be looking into this matter further.”