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Durbin Meets With BOP Director Peters

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a lead author of the landmark First Step Act, today met with Colette Peters, Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).  During their meeting, Durbin and Peters discussed the urgent need to advance significant reforms at BOP—including the continued implementation of the First Step Act and reducing the overuse of restricted housing; and Durbin emphasized that BOP must cooperate with the Judiciary Committee’s oversight requests in a timely manner.  Durbin also reiterated his calls for immediate action to root out staff misconduct at BOP and received an update on alleged incidents of sexual indecency targeting staff at United States Penitentiary (USP) Thomson in Thomson, Illinois.

“Today’s discussion with Director Peters was productive.  I told Director Peters that I will be watching for change when it comes to a number of issues, including solitary confinement, staff and inmate misconduct, cooperation with Committee oversight, and implementation of the First Step Act,” said Durbin.

Photos of today’s meeting are available here.

On Monday, Durbin, along with Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Alex Padilla (D-CA), sent a follow-up letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco seeking additional information about sexual misconduct by BOP personnel and reiterating that the Department of Justice (DOJ) must take immediate action to root out staff misconduct at BOP.  

Peters was sworn in as BOP’s new Director in August, following Durbin’s repeated calls for Attorney General Garland and Deputy Attorney General Monaco to replace former BOP Director Michael Carvajal with a reform-minded leader.

For years, Durbin has sought to address the injustices and challenges that impact the daily lives of incarcerated Americans and their families—along with the staff responsible for protecting both the people incarcerated in our federal prisons and the communities surrounding them.  He has worked across the aisle to pass bipartisan legislation like the Fair Sentencing Act and the First Step Act; held hearings on harrowing conditions of confinement, including the treatment of incarcerated individuals with mental illness and the abuse of solitary confinement; and, throughout both Republican and Democratic Administrations, has pushed DOJ and BOP to improve our criminal justice system.