Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 7, 2013 2:30am-4:31am EST

2:30 am
2:31 am
2:32 am
2:33 am
2:34 am
2:35 am
2:36 am
2:37 am
2:38 am
2:39 am
2:40 am
2:41 am
2:42 am
2:43 am
2:44 am
2:45 am
2:46 am
2:47 am
host: our conversation continues, looking at cushing oklahoma, and the role it plays in the oil industry. we want to go up to new york now, where daniel yergin is joining us. he is the author of both "the quest," and "the prize."
2:48 am
you have been to cushing oklahoma. how would you describe it? guest: you see all of the tanks, and it is quiet, and you have the oil moving at the stately rate of four miles per hour. it is very calm, yet you realize it is one of the notable points in the oil industry, and we see on the reports of what the oil price was, it all goes back to cushing, which has been a great gathering point, really, for about a century now. host: why does it all go back to cushing? guest: there was an oil field discovered there before the first world war and it was called the queen of the oil fields, and at one point it provided 22% of the u.s. total oil, and a lot of the oil produced by the u.s. army in europe was made in cushing
2:49 am
oklahoma, and the oil system was old, but the pipeline system had been set up to move supplies around so it became the gathering point. it all flowed through cushing and went out to other pipelines two refineries around the country to make products like gasoline, jet fuel, and heating oil that people need. host: some have called it the capital of the american oil kingdom. would you agree with that? guest: i would say it is a very key point in the oil industry. it is funny, when it was a boom town and they were producing a lot of oil there, people said any red blooded american would catch the oil fever there, for now it is very calm, and it is a central point of gathering really, for north american oil. host: and you are in new york. let's go back to the wall street component.
2:50 am
"bloomberg businessweek" reported that each day some 900,000 oil future options and contracts are traded on the new york mercantile stock exchange and oil in cushing is what is bought and sold. why is that? guest: when you have a futures market, as you do for oil, you need a delivery point. not everybody takes delivery. only a fraction does. you need some physical embodiment of oil, and it is the oil in cushing that is used to backup or the reference point for the prices you have in the futures market that people trade. here, in new york, and around the world, people are trading constantly, and vast amounts of money flow back and forth, he yet it is all connected -- yet it is all connected to the oils -- barrels of oil in cushing,
2:51 am
oklahoma. host: recently there was a glut in pushing. why is that? guest: what has happened, and this is what you are talking about before, the u.s. oil picture has changed. in 2008, the notion was we are going to run out of oil and since that time, all production has increased 56%. the oil is coming from new places like north dakota, more and more oil from canada, the oilsands and other parts of the country. we have more supply coming in, and our pipeline system needs to catch up with these new sources of oil. no one, five years ago, would have said that north dakota would be the second highest oil producing state in the country ahead of alaska, i have oklahoma -- a head of oklahoma. the pipelines are backed up in
2:52 am
cushing, and any more pipelines -- the pipeline system needs to catch up with this momentous change in u.s. oil supply. because that is happening you have seen copies like enbridge reverse their pipeline and other companies do the same. transcanada has gone ahead with the south leg of their keystone project, and that should be up and running soon. what will that do as far as getting the oil produced to markets? guest: what used to happen is oil would come in tankers from the middle east, the refined in texas or cushing, and now, it is like a u-turn. you have this oil produced in the u.s. that has to go to the gulf coast where half of our refining capacity is, and a lot of products like gasoline are made. the pipelines are being turned around. it is interesting that on the
2:53 am
white house website there is a photograph of president obama standing in front of these large pipes that you referred to, which is the southern leg of the keystone xl pipeline, and he was there to encourage that to be built, so that is going ahead. host: what do you make of him going to that area, stillwater, which is very close to cushing oklahoma -- a democratic president going there, talking about his energy policy? guest: i think you have seen a real change from where we were when the obama administration came in, a time when this shortage view was really there and if you go forward now, and i have found myself looking at his state of the union address, where he did not talk about oil and national gas at the beginning, and now he talks about and all of the above energy policy area everything --
2:54 am
policy. it reflects that he went to cushing and a focus on jobs that are a result of this developing. it is a shift and it reflects the way our energy picture has changed rather dramatically from what would have been expected a half decade ago. host: the president, just last week, was pitching the u.s. economy to foreign investors saying companies are moving here and more should move here because energy prices will be lower. guest: is really interesting. during the government shutdown, he gave a press conference and he said our oil and gas production is greater than that of russia, and he said some good things are happening. i was at that press conference that the department of commerce put on, and we have gained from inexpensive natural gas. i was in europe, and you talk to businesses there, and they will not invest in europe anymore.
2:55 am
they are in the united states, and there is over $100 billion of investments scheduled to come into the united states because we have a more favorable energy position than any of the other industrial countries. when i was in china, the chinese were worried about competition from the united states. host: we are talking today, mr. daniel yergin, on the anniversary of richard nixon's energy independence speech. what do you think of that? guest: there are a lot of echoes. nixon gave that speech, the company was -- country was in a panic. his administration was collapsing, too, because of watergate, and he gives a speech, just like john kennedy promised we would get a man on the moon, we will be energy independent in seven years. . .
2:56 am
host: daniel yergin is our guest. many of you know his book surprise, ihs vice chairman joining us from new york this morning to talk about the role
2:57 am
cushing, oklahoma plays. john is on the independent call. caller: could these oil pipelines be converted to negate the effect on drought? or is that under way now forward thinking people looking at perhaps creating water pipelines for the future? thank you very much. host: i think that we know that oil pipelines and sometimes converted to carrying natural gas the direction change. i have not heard about these pipelines. doesn't strike me that's going to happen, they will be converted to carry water. obviously, water is a serious issue in some parts of the country. people will look at other ways to manage it. i don't think that's the direction we'll be going.
2:58 am
host: about pipelines, there's a lot of debate over keystone xl and environment concerns surround that. what is the approximate life expectancy of a pipeline and how deep are these pipelines buried in the ground? guest: i think that, we have pipelines in the country that were built in the 1950's even so going back to 1940's although they've been rebuilt over time. i don't know your previous caller would know, may be 10 feet or 15 feet. we have in the country, 182,000 miles of oil pipeline and keystone xl would add about 1% to that length. one of the things missing from the discussion is the fact that we have this very large system now that moves oil and pipelines
2:59 am
sort of out of sight under ground except for kind of like those pipelines you were showing at the cushing. host: those pipelines have been in existence since the 50's and that oilsands have been coming from canada. guest: the real growth has been in the last 1990's. the amount of oil just from the oilsands producing there you have to get into perspective. that volume is greater than the volume of output from five of the opec countries. the u.s. and canada will will be really tied together in terms of energy. you look at the disruptions in the middle east and the instability there. people kind of need to keep in mind energy security too, the reliability of supplies.
3:00 am
host: canadian government lobbying washington this week and the washington post taking out a half page ad canada canada america's largest oil supplier united states brings them more from canada. david is waiting to talk to you -- guest: that is interesting. i think i found recent years people assume that all of our oil imports comes from the middle east. but canada is by far our largers supplier. host: david from louisiana, democratic caller. caller: i like to make a comment. in regarding to ethanol, this is a really disastrous thing. few mileage decrease to almost
3:01 am
15 to 20 percent. i happen to be lucky in my area. i have access to non-ethanol fuel. i can put the ethanol in and get the 22 miles but if i put in the non-ethanol, i get 26 to 28 miles per gallon. the toll that it's taking on the land to grow the corn to make this ethanol you're depleting your soil. a possibility down the road of having to use this land to grow some sustainable crops and edible crops. that's my comment, thank you. guest: greta? yes, okay. you know the requirements for using ethanol were really put in
3:02 am
back in the early part of the beginning of the century 2007 when there was great fear of shortage. obviously, it's had a lot of support from farm states. the pluses are that it's brought income into those areas. it kept young people in the area but it also has its cost. about half of our corn crop goes to ethanol. as the caller pointed out you do get less mile all from it. in terms of its impact, it's somewhat less. if you pull into a gas station, you'll look and you'll normally say 10% of gasoline is actually ethanol. host: are you for all of the above strategy in we heard from the president. we continue with our production of oil and natural gas but we also continue incentives for alternative energy? guest: yes, i think all of the above strategy is the right way
3:03 am
to go because we have a big diversified economy. there's not a single solution to do. i think it's been very beneficial that happened to our economy, this unconventional and gas revolution has created something over two million jobs last year and it increased household disposable income by about $1200. at the same time i think the renewables the alternatives are very important. part of the mix for the future. wind is now 5% of our electricity. you mentioned that conference where president obama spoke last week i chaired the energy panel there and it was someone from the white house who talked about all of the above energy policy and really occurred to me that we have in the united states now with other countries don't have, which is all of the above energy opportunity. that's a good thing for our economy. we have to continue the
3:04 am
research. thinking not only about tomorrow but thinking about five, 10 20 years from now. host: today on "washington journal," we're focusing on the oil side of the energy sector taking a look at cushing oklahoma, introducing you to that town. a town of 8000 with the capacity to hold nearly 80 million barrels of oil. it's the largest storage felt in our country. tomorrow on the "washington journal," our whole program will be looking at alternative energy, solar, wind and other sources of alternative energy. patrick in granite bay, california republican caller. you're up next go ahead. caller: my name is patrick, how are you? guest: fine thank you. host: go ahead please. caller: how are you sir? guest: okay.
3:05 am
caller: i have a question regarding oil and alternative energy. when t. boone pickens came out -- what do we do with all of this oil? if we do put it in a pipeline. it's going to go out of our country. even if we have all the oil in the world, we can only refine so much. what is the end game? guest: the end game, i think is a long game. we're not short of refining capacity in the united states. one reason we're not short of refining capacity is because not only are we producing more but our demand our consumption gone down because of efficient automobiles. to just give you another example, if i can, we were mentioning before about
3:06 am
president nixon project independence. since he gave that speech and sense the oil crisis, our economy has tripled and our oil consumption a 7% higher . california is a particular case because it's very hard to build anything in california. even to build a solar farm can be very controversial. so california has refineries there that have been there historically and then bring its oil elsewhere. california has higher gasoline prices than other parts of the country because of the various restrictions that are there. shortage refinery capacity used to look like a big issue because of the change in the market is not a big issue as it was before. california is the third or fourth largest oil producer in the united states. now by rail car, additional crude oil comes into the state
3:07 am
and goes to those refineries still there and ends up in the gas tanks of motorist. host: chuck tweets this. we need high tax of exports of refined oil products. guest: i don't understand what the purpose of that would be except to tax us out of the market. refining is a matter of factory business. we still import lot more oil than we export. the exports we do, you take a barrel of oil and you put it through a refinery system, you end up with a lot of different products. some of it like gasoline, we use a lot of it. others like fuel oil we don't use much anymore because we don't put oil into electricity generation anymore. you export some of your products as well and that's an income that flows back to the united states. i think what we don't want to do
3:08 am
is make ourselves uncompetitive. if i can say the economy we're benefiting. the economy in terms our g.d.p. and government revenues is benefiting from what's happening in the energy sector. unconventional oil and gas growth, generated we calculated $74 billion of government revenues last year from the normal taxes that people pay. host: greg is next in missouri independent caller. caller: good morning greta and daniel. i want to ask you, how difficult is it to build oil refineries in the u.s. and why are most of them on the gulf coast? guest: most of them on the gulf coast because that has been the great center of really the oil and gas industry. there's historic basis of it going back to the development of texas and the oklahoma oil fields. we were importing a lot of oil. the crude oil would arrive on
3:09 am
the gulf coast and be refined and sent out to the country. katrina and rita hurricanes hit, dallas airport in washington, ran out of jet fuel because that jet fuel was being refined in the gulf coast and sent up. if you're in texas i think you can expand a refinery. there's a big project there's a $10 billion project to upgrade one refinery. to get a permit in most places to build a new refinery, even it it made sense, would be a very lengthy regulatory process. host: joy in california democratic caller. caller: good morning. past years we talk about energy
3:10 am
independence. i am all for drilling oil here in the united states if it stayed in the united states. we didn't put -- we ship it and then it goes to opec and that we're not really benefiting from it. then we build the refineries of pipelines, those are temporary. i feel the same way about nuclear. if we're going to -- i'm originally from nevada and close to yucca mountain, if you want a nuclear power plant your state stores the waste. i just don't see correlation
3:11 am
between the prices the more oil we drill, doesn't necessarily mean the prices that we pay at the pump are lower. guest: that's a lot of questions. let me say that i think that if the u.s. has not seen increase in oil production that we're seeing today, we would be looking at much higher gasoline prices, we would be talking about a new oil crisis because you have to look outside the united states. you look at north africa, you look at libya you look at nigeria and west africa. you look at iraq and number of countries in fact, there's a disruption that's going on in world oil supply and the growth of u.s. supplies helped to balance that out. think we would be looking -- people would be talking and complaining about much higher prices at the pump had we not seen this additional supply, which made us more secure.
3:12 am
we do export some product that is crude oil after its gone through the refineries, it doesn't go to opec, it goes to countries like brazil. one of the products you make when you turn that oil into crude oil and different products is diesel. we don't use so much diesel as europe. we export diesel fuel to europe. it kind of all balances out. primarily, the oil that we refine in this country is used in this country. the nuclear thing, that opens up a whole other question. nuclear is about 20% of our electricity today so it's one of the sort foundations of our electric supply. host: on this issue of energy security, sense the u.s. already has energy security, where does this pipe oil go?
3:13 am
guest: well, if there's a disruption in the world market say we didn't have this oil even though the disruption is in some other part of the world. at the end of the day, there's only one world oil market and that world oil market prices back to cushing. we still import 35% of our oil today. we're not self-sufficient. where does the oil go? it goes into people's gasoline tanks in their cars. it goes into jet planes that fly people, it goes into shipping. oil is primarily these days, more than anything else used as a transportation fuel. host: how much is used for plastics? guest: i don't know that number.
3:14 am
that reminds me of the scene in the movie, the graduate, with plastics. chemicals are also made from natural gas. one reason we're getting over $100 billion of new investment coming into the united states is the chemical companies coming, it convert bundle supplies of natural gas we have now into chemicals and plastics. host: carl in fredericksburg, virginia independent caller. caller: i have two comments. there's a wonderful documentary on fracking. they filed in upstate new york where 15 million people get their water. the fracturing was sold on tv and commercials. i think that's number one
3:15 am
problem. number two is that the oil industry, if you go back, wherever the time line is to where we were paying $28 a barrel to the saudis we raised it so much they were upset. our oil companies went in and made a deal but they would give them half the additional profit. our oil prices should be down to half of what it is today. we shouldn't be exporting anything. we should take care of that and replace it because it's polluting the whole nation. guest: well, several different points. first on the water. the hydraulic fracturing even in the state of texas is less than one percent of the total water use that's there. it may surprise you to know that the production and drilling of natural gas and oil is actually a highly regulated activity, much of it regulated by state
3:16 am
and if there's a spill or surface spill or something, there are penalties there. so far, i was on the commission that president obama had set up to look at the environmental issues around shell gas and the conclusion of the sciences on the commission is that it's industrial activity that needs to be managed. it doesn't fit at all what you describe. there is no shell gas development in the state of new york. although there is next door in pennsylvania. i don't think your facts are correct on oil prices about 50/50. most countries, first of all u.s. old companies don't produce in many of the middle east countries like to saudi arabiaians. secondly where countries do produce, approximately 80 to
3:17 am
85 percent of every dollar of revenue goes to the host government. and 15 or 20 percent will go to the oil companies that develop it. that's the current standard in the world. host: democrat on twitter wants to ask about natural gas. i would like to know why the price of natural gas in my home is going up? guest: i don't know why that's happening either. i don't know what part of the country you're in. most natural gas bills are going down. also electricity bills are going down when the electricity is made with natural gas. i think it's a puzzle that your prices are going up. one reason, increased disposable income for households they're spending less to heat their homes with natural gas. i don't know. better look at that bill carefully. host: we'll go to michael
3:18 am
charlotte, north carolina republican caller. caller: before i get to my point about ethanol, i want to report to you, i go on a website called i was a mile from the south carolina border. i can buy a gallon of gas for $2.98 and two miles up in north carolina, it's $3.33 a gallon. it reports that missouri is the cheapest place in the country to buy gas at $2.87 a gallon. guest: are you filling up your car everyday? caller: , no i like to follow the trend and see what's happening. guest: you're doing a lot of driving. caller: no, it takes two seconds and it's a great little website. people report and you can basically go to almost any intersection in the united states to find it. guest: internet made pricing more transparent. caller: exactly. you mentioned the loss of miles per gallon with regard to
3:19 am
ethanol. what i don't think -- the part you should have finished with respectively the fact that usage and reduction in miles per gallon actually based upon pricing of a gallon of gas is what you have to make up and also the fact that you lose about 15 to 18 or percent of miles per gallon. you're getting less mileage with the 10% ethanol. thus you're in effect using more oil as over all consumption because you have to make up that miles per gallon by using more gasoline. the other interesting thing you might want to check into is, what is the cap based upon a gallon of gasoline that's hundred percent oil or gasoline or it's in the 90/10. if it's the the 90/10 mix, it
3:20 am
changes the whole equation. guest: ethanol is 10% of your total every gallon 10% is ethanol. i don't think the mileage loss would be that great. the mileage loss, i think with that 10% you cite. first of all, i love this stuff about gas buddy. that's terrific. i think the other point the legislation that was put into effect says that in fact, we start to have to use more ethanol or biofuels. volumes has to increase. this is a big problem for two reasons. one because our gasoline consumption is a lot elower than people thought it will be in 2005 and 2007 when legislation was passed. and two, it was passed in the view not only we would leapfrog
3:21 am
over ethanol to what was considered the break through ethanol not made from corn or made from waste products. it turned out that has not -- those products are not there yet. legislation was passed. you have to use something in your car that doesn't exist. i think one of the things that both the administration and the congress will have to wrestle is to change the law so it becomes more realistic and doesn't try and push ethanol that doesn't exist yet and require that it be used. this will distort the gasoline markets. host: let me get in mary a republican caller. caller: i like to know about the penalty phase. the drillers the drill wells and they skip that why aren't
3:22 am
they held more responsible for the damage that they do to farms because i got a humongous mess out here. i had oil in the creeks since 2011. why aren't the drillers -- i don't have my rights yet, why aren't the people that rent the property that drill for oil? there's so many pipes in my ground, you couldn't plow a field. host: what about accountability? guest: kind of get the facts on the table. is this something recent? are they drilling on your property? host: i apologize, i let her go because we're running out of time with you mr. yergin. guest: i can't talk about the specifics. if you're looking at western
3:23 am
pennsylvania, they tossed regulatory systems and most states have it. i don't know the specifics of that case. if that's what they've done, they're responsible and they should pay not only to fix it, they should pay the penalty and the fines levied. host: mr. yergin, two different headlines. this from the "washington journal," u.s. refiners don't care if keystone xl gets built. you have this from the washington times this week last week both sides on keystone agree that obama must act because this is going to be part of his legacy. guest: wow. that's true. refiners do care. you do have these large volumes. what's going to happen, if keystone isn't built this oil will come into the united states by rail car. it's just dramatically increased. the pipeline is a simpler way
3:24 am
to do it. they're bringing in oil and sort of seem like something john d. rockefeller would have been done. it becomes the modern way. the keystone xl has become a symbol that is far greater than the actual pipeline. this is the most famous pipeline in the world that hasn't yet been build. if we don't use the canadian oilsands we'll import oil from venezuela which has the same carbon footprint. it looks like there may be some clarification. this is not only question of legacy but it's a very long running drama. kennedy.
3:25 am
3:26 am
at a senate jew dish ri
3:27 am
committee senators questioned the bureau of prisons directer about ways to reduce prison population and recidivism. others discussed the costs of minimum sentencing. this is two hours. a. the hearing will come to ore. i'm grateful the chairman of the judiciary committee has joined us, chairman leahy and senator durbin of illinois, and i'm sure others will join us. senator grassley will join us after important business right down the hall. he'll be along as soon as he's cleared that. welcome, everybody. today's hearing is oversight of the bureau prisons and cost effective strategies for reducing recidivism.
3:28 am
we'll exercise our legislative responsibility to conduct oversight of the bureau of prisons but more importantly, we'll explore with director charles and second panel of witnesses what can be done to improve or federal correction system to better protect the public while reducing costs. this is an area that astricted broad and bipartisan interest within the committee and i think there is real reason for on optimism in legislating effectively in the area. continued growth in federal spending on prisons and detention poses a significant threat to all other federal law enforcement and activities. in the last year, the cost obtaining inmates ate up more than 30% of the justice's department budget. since 2000 costs sortedded -- associated with federal prisons doubled. if nothing is done these costs will continue to consume an ever-larger share of the department's budget squeezing out other activities.
3:29 am
they walk the touchest beat in the state to do more with less. if we let the trends continue, we'll be putting the brave men and women at serious and unnecessary risk. fortunately, states across the country have shown that it's possible to reign in costs while improving public safety and reducing resis vich. my state of rhode island enjoys the leadership of the director of our department of corrections and the dean of corrections director aired the country. with his leadership, we have a package of reforms that increased reduction programming, focused attention on high risk offenders, and expanded investments in successful community reentry. as a result of these reforms
3:30 am
our states' prison populations declined for the first time in years. other states had similar successes. today, we'll hear from witnesses from pennsylvania and kentucky who helped lead their states in enacting and implementing significant reforms of their correction systems that cut costs while better protecting the public. these examples show it's time for the federal government to learn from these states. as a former state and federal prosecutor, i recognize there's no easy solutions to the problem. inmates in the federal prisons are there because they have committed serious offenses and because the law enforcement officers across their country did the job did their jobs in seeing they were arrested and prosecuted, and we must never try to save money at the expense of public safety. what the states have showed, it is possible to cut costs while making the public safer if we are guided by what works. to achieve this goal we must be willing to look at all as pegs
3:31 am
of our sentencing and correction system. we should be willing to reevaluate mandatory minimum sentences an area in which the chairman and senator paul, senator durbin and senator lee have done important work together. we have to explore where the guidelines work effectively nearly 30 years after they were first enacted. we have to do enough to provide drug and alcohol treatment for those inmates who need it and whether we're collecting accurate information about substance abuse and addiction from the presentence report right through the criminal justice process. we have to ask if there's more to be done before reentering the communities and more to help the communities with their reend try. in rhode island we passed reforms that allowed inmates to earn credit towards their sentences if they were willing to participate in programs that meaningfully reduced their criminal risk factors.
3:32 am
we have to ask if we can do a better job of supervising exoffenders after release. many states led by the home state of hawaii as example, the hope program implemented parole systems with swift and certain sanctions for violations of the terms of supervision with promising results so far. from the presentence report from post relief supervision, there's room for improvement. let me conclude with one point that i think is not debatable. doing nothing about the problem is no longer an option. if we do nothing, we are choosing to let the corrections budget take away from the fbi's ability to disrupt terrorism groups. if we do nothing, we allow the costs of corrections to prevent us from stopping the next generation of signer threats. we choose to spend less forcing the violation against women act choosing to give less to the local state and local law enforcement agencies. those are not choices my
3:33 am
colleagues wish to make. those are not smart choices so i look forward to hearing from director samuels and others to address the critical issue and i now recognize our chairman. thank you sir. >> thank you, and thank you chairman whitehouse. i agree, and this 1 the second hearing this fall turning attention to the unsustainable growth in the federal prison population. 700% increase i believe in the last 30 years. we're losing agents and prosecutors necessary to invest gait and charge crimes. we're cutting support for critical work with our local and state law enforcement.
3:34 am
i think the main drivers front end sentencing laws are enacted by us in congress. like the proliferation of mandatory sentences. i'm hoping that many including people who voted for those again, now in retrospect realize it was a bad mistake. i'm committed to addressing sentences reform this year, and i'm pleased by the fact that both republicans and democrats have -- are joining in that effort. it is a problem that congress created. it's also a problem that congress can fix and it's high time we do so, and i think public demands we do so. we can do such things as changing the calculation on good time credit. congress intended for the 47 credits. that's a change that i include
3:35 am
in the second chance reauthorization act, and i believe senator whitehouse you're going to be doing that. i want to find out about programs that reduce recidivism. i know the interest in the community of senator whitehouse and others. it -- more than any other federal inmates released into our communities what what chance do they have to make it when released? lastly one of the main reasons i wanted to be here director samuels, thank you for the prompt attention of concerns that i raised, others raise with the proposed closing with the secure facility in the
3:36 am
northeast and i understand you have taken the concerns to heart. i know that people in the -- in my state of vermont think and senator bloomenthal raised the question. i put my vote in the record, and i told senator whitehouse i'm supposed to be in another hearing, but thank you for doing this. it is a subject we have to -- and director samuels, thank you for your service. >> thank you very much. i turn to the distinguished ranking member, senator grassley. >> i always welcome the opportunity to have oversight of justice department. it's a very important function of this company or this committee, and the bureau of prisons, of course, is the large component of the department's budget. of course the bureau's work is very very important we all know
3:37 am
with the budget deficits we have, the federal government spends too much money so it is nice to have this administration find some places to save money but the bureau of prisons is one of the few places where thigh are trying to do that. we have to be careful about any action we take in changing sentencing laws whether based on costs or other concerns. it's hard to think of another example of a more successful domestic policy than reduction of crime rates that we had. it's achieved by changes policing techniques longer sentences, and many others i won't name. crime rates at the lowest level in 50 years. many people deserve to be proud
3:38 am
of the results. we have to remember these were hard won gain and i'm concerned we are hearing the same kind of voices that headed us towards a greater crime starting back in the 1960s. for instance we hear that prisons should have sentences retroactively reduced. we hear that mandatory minimum sentences could be eliminated, that we should no longer have sentencing, fewer drug prosecutions should be pursued that all of the proposals would save money and not raise crime. reducing sentences return them to the streets sooner. many so-called nonviolent drug offenders happen to have violence records. some released offenders will commit additional crimes.
3:39 am
somehow cost analysis of the bureau of prisons do not include cost to victims including injuries economic whroseses psychological and economic or emotional harms m one represented here today notes most costs are fixed and the real costs of adding or sub tracting inmates is close to the $25,000 figure often used. that changes the calculation as well. the price for increased judicial discretion are actually covering language for leniency. too many judges are already too lenient. they can be serious damage. i know the rules last week that the district judge violated judicials to issue rulings against successful practices
3:40 am
that led to improve. rather than contemplate rebutte for actions and changing courts away from the bias i regret this district judge issued a press release statement containing that she had done nothing wrong. of course, we wok state officials who will testify today. we can always consider what states are doing but state and federal offenders an have committed different kinds of crimes. what works in one context do not work for another, and we have to proceed with caution because states hit more prisoners out early yerl crime rates are rising. it's too early to fully establish the causes of this increase in crime but the bureau of statistics announced that property and violent crime rates were significant in 2012. the rate rose from 2 # 2.6 per 1
3:41 am
# # 000 to -- in 2011 to 26.1 in 2012. the rate of property crimes were always 10% in one year. fund are not unlimited, and i'm willing to examine a balance mixed of sentencing reforms. it is well worth considering releasing prisoners of advanced age or other situations to assessed, and leniency for the sake of leniency is ill-advise especially a bad idea as crime rates are rising as we have seen in the last couple of years. i look forward to these hearings, thank you. >> thank you senator durbin, would you like to make an opening statement? senator sessions? >> mr. chairman, thank you and this is an important subject.
3:42 am
we have talked before i believe in terms of cost, we tend to spend too much per prisoner, more than two times what the average states are probably spending on their prisons number one. number two we have had an increase in violence crime rates, and with the budget difficulties states were maybe 90% of the prisoners confronted by the criminal justice system softening punishments, and federal government sort of set the standard, and lead sometimes in those issues. senator durbin and i did work together on legislation to ease some of the sentences for crack and other punishments, really so i think it took a step in the right direction but senator grassley is correct. you know we've seen a
3:43 am
substantial increase in crime 15% violent crimes last year, and the fact is that long term sustained reduction in crime in america from the consistent violence times of the 1970s when i was a young prosecutor to half that today murder rate half of what it was. a lot of that is driven by the fact that there are not that many people who commit murders. not that many people commit rapes. the more of those who are in jail, the fewer murders and rapes you're going to have. that's just fact. people do not need to go back to the time where we don't think realistically about the value of prison in terms of reducing crimes, and with regard to recidivism, mr. chairman, some programs work better than others, but anybody that knows
3:44 am
anything about the criminal justice system over a long period of time knows there's no cure, no plan yet ever devisedded, but someone always has something they say changes the course of criminal history, but it's not happened yet and we tried thousands of different programs, so we've got to be modest in reducing recidivism 10-15% is worthy of us giving great consideration to, but these ideas of promotion, 50% reduction in crime you have to prove it to me. i've been watching this for over 30 years if it would i appreciate it mr. chairman. >> thank you senator clob char do you have a statement? >> no i look forward to hearing the witnesses. >> senator lee?
3:45 am
>> just to thank you for having this hearing and respond briefly to the remarks made by the senator from alabama between the two of us i think, perhaps we have close to 70 years in the justice system, and i want to agree with him that in an ideal world we would, first of all have no crime but second, free criminals without regard to the dollar cost, but there are very severe dollar costs to incarceration, and, in fact the cost of incarcerating an individual is now in excess of what it costs to send a young person to college in many universities across the country and i would just point out that many states are taking very innovative and important steps in reducing their prison populations in part because of wiser incarceration policies and i hope we can explore the policies with the bureau of
3:46 am
prisons here so we keep dangerous people in prison, the ones who are likely to recommit serious and harmful crimes physically dangerous people and at the same time work to rehabilitate them and i am going to be focused on the recent decision that the federal correctional institution at danb urges -- danbury, which up fortunately a number of us to stop which would have resulted in a number of women prisoners away from their families, which, in my view, is bad policy no matter how long people are kept in prison. they have to be nearer to their children, especially if they are mothers of those children, and nearer to their families and i'm glad we were able to make sure we were clear in the decision, and i want to thank the director of the bureau of prisons for wisdom in doing so and i look forward to asking questions about other prisons and other prisoners and what can
3:47 am
be done to keep them near to their prisons, whether they are women or men. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. do you care to make an opening statement? >> very briefly, mr. chairman. prison overcrowding is a huge issue at both the federal and state levels so thank you for this hearing and i will be very interested in hearing from our witnesses what we can do regarding the front end to do with sentencing and at the back end of the the recidivism is another nay senior issue so front and back end relating to overcrowding, thank you. >> thank you. will you stand to be sworn in do you affirm the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? thank you and welcome. samuel e. jr., as directer, responsible for the director of oversight and management of all
3:48 am
federal institutions and safety and security of thousands of inmates under the agency's jurisdiction. prior to the appointment he was the assistant director of the correctional programs division where he oversaw all management and functions including intelligence and counterterrorism initiatives, case management and other services. director began the career at the bureau of prisons as a corrections officer in 1988. we are pleased to have him. please proceed. >> [inaudible] i can't begin without acknowledging the past february we suffered losses with the murders of two of our staff. officer williams from the united states penitentiary was stabbed to death we an inmate while working in a housing unit. lieutenant was shot and kill while driving home from the
3:49 am
metropolitan detention center in puerto rico. we'll honor the memories of the two officers. i know we all share commitment to our nation's criminal justice systems. we are proud of the role we play in supporting the department of justice safety efforts, but we understand that incars rations is only one asset of the overall mission. you share concerns about the increasing costs associated with operating the nation's largest correctional system. those costs make up one quarter. doj's budget. we're optimistic the attorney general's budget will reduce the population in the years ahead. several of you feel you have the potential to positively impact the growth population and crowding through reforms and incentives. i appreciate your work and interest in the important topic and i look forward to working
3:50 am
with you going forward. they are responsible for incarceration of over 219000 inmates. our prisons are crowded. there's 30% more inmates than design to have. we're concerned about the 52% row crowding and 35% crowding in the facility. i'm grateful for the support provided to activate new facilities in berlin, new hampshire haze lton wefsz miss, and alabama. when activated, these facilities will assist in reducing crowding rates by about 4%. i know you expressed this, but the change will decrease crowding from 48% to 23% below security female facilities, and from 38% to 36% in low security male facilities and also bring in many women and men closer to their homes.
3:51 am
reentry is critical, and reentry begins on the first day of incars ration. preparation for release includes treatment education job skills training, and more that takes place in the term. over the past 20 years there's a significant evolution and expansion of the inmate reentry program. several of our most significant programs are proven to reduce recidivism. federal prison industries or fpis, one of the most important programs. they participate from 24% most likely to reside vat the nine participating inmates recently given new authorities to seek work and pursue potential projects under the prison industries enhancement certification program and we're working dill gently to maximize these opportunities. we have more than 450 inmates working on repatriation projects. we work with many experts that inmates are triaged to assess risk and determine appropriate programs to reduce such risk.
3:52 am
high risk offenders are the first priority for treatment as they pose the greatest public safety risk when released. the safety of staff inmates are the highest priority. we have several changes to end hains safety and security. i have recent advantages. we expanded the availability of pepper spray for the staff to use in situations. we have developed plans to add a correctional officer in the housing during hours and we made significant advances in reducing use of restrictive housing and expanding drug use programs. the mission of the bureau prisons is challenging. maintaining high levels of security and ensuring inmates actively participate this reentry programs that serve and protect society. chairman whitehouse this concludes my formal statement. i thank the members of the committee for your continued support and i will be happy to
3:53 am
answer any questions. thank you, director samuels. you said in the testimony that reentry should begin first day planning should plan for a stay. what further staff steps can they take? >> i think the next step for the committee to consider as stated in written testimony and in my oral statements, we are doing everything possible when inmates enter the system to begin the reentry process nothing to -- since 1980 our population has exploded. in 1980, there was approximately 26000 inmates in our care.
3:54 am
10 thowrs staff to manage that population, and only 41 institutions at that time. as of to-date, as indicated, our population is at 219 thowrs. we have approximately 38000 staff. that is an increase of 830% just with the inmate populations alone. safety and security is very very important to manage a correctional facility. we are utilizing staff hired to provide programs in some cases to provide security because security is par mount to ensure you have an environment where you provide the appropriate programs. we are on a path of unstainability and it is a significant issue that i think everyone needs to be concerned about because the men and women who work for the bureau prisons
3:55 am
who are dedicated law enforcement officers are putting their lives op the line every single day. we believe that reentry is very, very important because it is a significant part of the mission. our mission is not just to warehouse individuals but ensure we provide everything necessary when ultimately they are released. 95% of the inmates in our care will at some point in time be relosed back to communities. reentry is important because for us to manage the the individuals, we have to ensure we are actively ensuring that they are engage in programs within the institution. this is accomplishedded by reentry efforts. i can report that despite all the challenges we -- challenges we have faced over the last 30 years we are at a point where 80% of the inmates who are released from the bureau prisons do not reside vat within three
3:56 am
years. i give credit to the staff who work under these difficult situations, and at the same time assure we're maintaining safe, secure facilities for the american public. if any consideration could be begin, i think it's looking at the growth. as we are aware, bureau prisons do not control the number of inmates who enter the system, we have no control over the sentencing but what we have a duty and obligation to do is ensure that for those individuals who are ultimately released do not return to prison because on average about 45000 inmates are released back into the community and with the recidivism issues and concerns i tell our staff day in and day out that it's up to us to do way we can control in making sure we have programs that don't return. >> is one the residential drug abuse program? the residential drug abuse
3:57 am
program, do you -- tell me about that and how effective you believe that is and how it fits into improvement of nonrecidivism. >> yes. the residential drug abuse program is modeled after the cognitive therapy model that research has shown with experts looking at this that it does reduce recidivism as well as relapse and so within the bureau, we have been very, very successful with our staff. we've taken it a step further. we use the cognitive therapy model to place programs throughout the bureau for other segments of the population. i'll give you an example. we have a challenge program that also uses cbt and we have a
3:58 am
program used for young inmates, a resolve program that it is very beneficial for female offenders who have experienced dramatic incidence within their life. we have the treatment program which is also a very successful and for chronically mentily ill inmates, we have a step down program. we have a stages program that we have for individuals suffering from paranoid issues, and overall we believe that this is very important. we have to continue to do it but the challenge is with the resources, and focusing on high risk needs and offenders, and we have to put the focus for the efforts that we put in place. >> thank you. >> senator grassley. >> thank you mr. samuels for
3:59 am
being here and thank you mr. chairman. we have 25% of the federal prisons are foreign citizens. anyone concerned about reducing prison costs should make lowering that number a priority. what can your agency do the bureau do more effectively to use the international prisoner program to make more of the foreign citizens serve their sentences than their home countries rather than at u.s. taxpayer experience? >> all right. thank you senator for this question. 25% of the population comprises nine u.s. citizens. that number equates to 55000 criminal aliens in our population. we have a treaty transfer program that we are actively using, and there is room to ensure that we are increasing the numbers as far as the
4:00 am
participant for the program. we are reaching out throughout the bureau to ensure the staff are explaning this program in its entirety to the inmates who would benefit from being removed from within the bureau prison and given an opportunity to serve their time through the agreements that we have with the international community where the agreements are in place, and that would, in effect, as you stated, give us some cost reductions in the population. >> one way to reduce prison crowding is to build more prisons. congress authorized building four more prisons. tame, the federal government bought a state prison in thompson illinois, and they are spending additional money to renovate it. i want to know the current status of thompson prison and what amount of money spending on it, and then lastly really a three-part question, is the spending on thompson slowing
4:01 am
down the opening of the four additional prisons that have been authorized and their status? >> okay. the current facilities are in the agent vaition process and the purchase of the thompson facility has not in any way impeded progress in moving forward to activate the facilities that you make reference to. we have the new hampshire facility as well as the facility in alexville, alabama. we hired staff which we are continuing to hire, and gradually moving forward to build a pop population for the institution. the facilities that are pending for full agent vaition the facility in haze lton -- hazelton, west virginia and at this point, we are trying to hire, and hopefully depending on
4:02 am
finding, we'll potentially hopefully be provided in fy14, we would be put in the situation to determine how soon we can move to move inmates into the facility for agent vaition. for the thompson facility i assure you there's been great need within the bureau prisons for the type of facility. we have not in the bureau prisons, brought on any type of high security bids similar to what we have in colorado since 1994. if you look at our population in 1994 where you are today, need bets are premium. we had to do our best with limited resources with the inmates placed at the adx. i'm looking forward to being able to fully activate the facility because as i mentioned at the high security level, crowding within the prisons we
4:03 am
are facing significant challenges that are ultimately putting our staff at risk putting the inmates at risk and the community at risk. we need those bids. >> can you submit a figure that's being spent on the thompson prison in writing? >> yes sir. >> thank you. my last question, 25% of the federal prisoners are gang members. prisoners can more easily maintain ties to crime if they are gang members making prisoners dangerous and make it harder for inmates to commit new crimes when released. what specifically does your agency do to reduce gang membership in prisons and is membership so high because prisons who do not previously blng to gangs join them after their in prison? >> thank you. within the bureau of prison
4:04 am
that you acknowledged, we have significant number of gang members. many long before entering the prison system have gang affiliation, and this is one of the reasons why the unstainability for safe and security within our facilities with the large numbers we're dealing with we had to put innovative strategies in place to target the individuals. we are able to manage and maintain control by using the prisons we have to spread out influence. the prisons for well over 30 years use a risk assessment tool and with this tool, we look at criminal factors that being a gang member fall within this factor where you can't change it. we have factors we also weigh in because gang motorbike, misconduct, criminal history, these are good predictors of
4:05 am
institution, conduct, as well as recidivism. by targeting and looking at the individuals' history, particularly those who have gang affiliation we do everything we can to get the individuals involved in evidence-based programs to ensure that we are trying to at least explore thinking to move away from any belief they need to belong to a gang especially in the correctional environment. it's our speedometer to protect these individuals and they should not believe for a moment that they should join a gang for any type of safety. that is why congressman and control in the prison system is important to diffuse those issues. >> senator durbin. >> i have to go to finance and i'll come back for the second half. >> very well. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman before he leaves, i want to thank senator grassley for the shared interest in the thompson
4:06 am
federal prison. we both realize that this is going to create good paying jobs in the home state of iowa and illinois and lessen the overcrowding and provide critical beds that are necessary for the protection of the men and women of the bureau who worked hard for it. thank you, senator grassley, for the questions. you took my thunder on the thompson prison. it's been a little over a year a year and few months since we had a hearing that you attended in the room. relative to solitary confinement, segregation, and the impact it has on people serving time in prison. we had many witnesses before us including a man who spent ten years on death row in isolation in texas came to testify before us. i'll never forget that testimony as long as i live. that was heart breaking. it reflexed the fact that many of the people in segregation in an isolation situation with 23
4:07 am
hours a day in a cell one hour by themselves outside, would ultimately, many of them come out of that prison, and the question is what is left of them after they've gone through that life experience? we have testimony at that hearing from the director of corrections from the state of mississippi. he talked about an assessment mississippi had done after suicides in these circumstances in which they concluded they were wasting money with more and more isolation. the corrections there really was a leader in saving it. save this and we can avoid terrible outcomes. the mental degradation of people faced with isolation segregation. i asked you at the time whether you believe putting people in segregation or separate facilities had ultimate impact on their mental health and you
4:08 am
demurred from answering. i would have said yes clearly yes but you demurred. to your credit you say you would look into it. i'd like to ask two things what have you done in over a year and, number two what can we look forward to? is there a way for us to save money, not degrade the mental condition of those who were put in isolation and still protect the men and women who serve in the bureau of prisons. >> all right. thank you. senator durbin, i do want to commend you on taking the lead on this very very important issue. when i attended the hearing in june of 2012 it was a very significant issue for the bureau and nation because i had many conversations with the -- with my peers in the field of corrective directerrings and
4:09 am
secretaries relative to the issue. since the hearing at the time there were well over 13000 individuals in some form of restrictive housing within the bureau prison, and i can report today the number is now approximately 9000-plus. we had significant reduction in that area and what we have done throughout the agency is put a focus on issues relevant to restrictive housing. i had many conversations with the senior leaders within the agency, specifically the war dons responsible for day-to-day operations of our prisons and stretch the fact that we have to be just as aggressive getting individuals out when they put them in restrictive housing and realizing that we only use it when absolutely necessary which
4:10 am
for the men and women to include the inmates in our institution, we always must keep the focus on safety and security. we have some very dangerous inmates in the system as i know you are aware and we have to ensure that we have a duty and obligation as you mentioned to ensure when we place them in restrictive housing, that we maintain the highest level of quality care relative to their physical as well as mental health. >> i'm sorry to interrupt you but i only have a few seconds left. i have a pointed question on another topic. we spend between a million and a half dollars a year to $2 million for each and every inmate being held at guantanamo a million and a half-plus a year. what's the maximum allowed per
4:11 am
inmate cost allowed in se florence, colorado, our highest security federal prison? >> per? >> inmate annual cost. >> >> for the complex it would equal to approximately 75 dollars a day and varies from facility but if we look at it -- >> that's the highest level maximum security prison in the bureau prison system? >> yes sir. >> has anyone ever escaped from there? >> no, sir. >> thank you very much director. >> senator sessions. >> what is the average cost per inmate in the federal pent risk offenders? >> the average annual cost 29 ,000 a year. >> less than have of that a low
4:12 am
cost state but other states are much less and i think we invest a lot of money because the federal government wants to have the highest and best prison system and benefit the prisoners the most as we can. i think we have to look at that cost figure. other states are just not costing that much. with regard to the number, the 25%, the foreign born in prison, those do not include those detained in immigration institutions for deportation. these are individuals who then are tried by a federal judge for a crime like drugs or assaulting of that kind; is that correct? >> yes sir. we have more than 1 # 00,000 individuals in our custody who have been sentenced for drugs, which 77000 u.s. citizens and 23 thowrs --
4:13 am
23000. >> you know i noticed in your numbers i have here that the prison population went up about 2,000 between 2012 and 2013 at least that was projected increase. that would be about a 1% increase below the population increase so at this point we're not seeing a surge of prisoners above the normal population increase in the country, are we? >> senator sessions, i'm glad that you raised this point. for fy13, we have a net gain of 611 inmates, and although the number appears to be small compared to recent years where we average 6000-plus inmates, you have to realize that at the same time we processed within the bureau prison well over 70,000 inmates, which these are individuals who have to go
4:14 am
screenings for physical mental health and everything else it takes to manage that large scale number of inmates going into our system. when you look at the overall trend, even for a 10-year period, we had a 40% increase. so 611 continues to demonstrate that we're having more and more inmates and not planning at this point to build any new prison. >> when you say "more and more" it's a net 600, though increase; right? >> the net is 611 and even with that number, you're looking at a third of a prison. we have to take those 611 and we're putting a situation in the country where we are triple bunking. >> i say to the colleagues that i think there is a decline in federal and state incarceration rates from the time in 1981 when i was made the united states
4:15 am
attorney, in the early 1980s, this congress, senator kennedy and senator thurman, leahy biden grassley hat did the mandatory sentencing, eliminated parole had the mandatory sentencing provisions and it was a revolution in prison, and in prosecution. i would thought before and after states began to follow a mandatory sentence. we've seen a decline in murder rates by one-half. people in the 70s were constantly fearful of their homes being burglarized being assaulted their cars broken into all kind and you just have seen this rather substantial improvement so all i would say to our colleagues is there's no doubt in my mind that moving from a revolving door where people come in get
4:16 am
probation, released on bail for the second, third and fourth aches and tried another year later given probation again. too often, this drives the crime rate. we achieved a lot. that's why i was willing to support and work with senator durbin to maybe reduce some of the mandatory sentences because i think we can be smarter about it. it's naive in a big ere deny error to just walk away in incarcerated dangerous people. you're worried for your guards. you talk about gangs. a lot of the people are darnings. we got to be real careful about that. i think we need to watch the costs. the federal prison system can't be the greatest system the most expensive in the whole world which it is but we have to watch, look for ways to reduce costs, and we got to be cautious
4:17 am
about adopting the belief that there's been some new recidivism program that's going to solve the recidivism rate if we can reduce it even a little bit. i'm willing to support a good program, but a lot of the program just never was put to use the results, we want them to have. recidivism rate today is in a lot different than it was in 198 o i don't think and so we spend more on it trying to make it better, and we have a very successful achievement there. finally, you and i talked about prison industries. there's no doubt in my mind that people who work in prison prefer it, prisoners who have work programs are safer aren't they mr. samuels? >> yes. >> i think the data shows that clearly, and they probably have
4:18 am
a little better recidivism rate. i don't know. >> they do. >> we have got to have a breakthrough. more people in prison need to be working. the american people understand this. there's been 5 lot of attempts, some of them not very smart, to help prisoners work but i really believe all of us need to look for a way to have more productive work in prisons. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you senator sessions. >> senator klobechar. >> thank you mr. chairman, appreciate the hearing the smart sentencing and i know how we have to keep dangerous offenders behind bars. my state has the lowest incarceration rates in the country, and we have the lowest crime rates. part is triaging the cases ensuring there's response to low level offenses, escalating responses, but the length of it can be a matter of dispute, and that's part of what we talk about here. i came through this looking at our state which sometimes people
4:19 am
joke we're not just the land of 10,000 lakes, but the lain of 10000 treatment centers but our focus ongoing after addiction and some thingses, i think has made a difference in the handling of the cases and in particular drug courts. drug cases made up about a third of our cation load and there's population in the county of over a million people, minneapolis 45 suburbs 400 employees and we really focused a lot on drug courts. i made changes when i got in there. i think senator sessions would have liked some of them took cases out that had guns with them the more violence cases baa i don't think they belonged there. that strengthenedded the drug court and the use of the drug court. you know the staff's director, three out of every four people who garage rate from the programs are arrested again. 75% success rate compared to 30% in the traditional system, saving taxpayer's dollars $6000
4:20 am
a person, and i asked the attorney general holder at the last doj oversight hearing in expanding the use of drug courts at the federal level. that's what i wanted to start with with you how you see this could work and how we could more effectively lower costs better rehabilitate offenders, and reduce crime rates like we've seen in our states. >> thank you, senator. i do agree with the drug treatment programs. they work. we see a lot of benefit just from the behavior that we're quick to witness with the inmates who participate in the program. internally within the bureau, we have the drug abuse program as well as nonresidential and drug education and all of our institutions. as far as the policy issue relative to a drug court i am not the expert, i mean for those types of discussions, and
4:21 am
i definitely know that within the department there's many individuals who are more appropriate to have the discussion on policy issues for the department that could eventually benefit any reductions to know with our population on the front end as well as the back end. >> but you see it as the way with federal drug courts reducing the numbers in the prison? >> i believe that the evidence shows that that's very possible. >> you mentioned the program and proven effective in reducing recidivism and reducing conduct. how many inmates are enrolled in the program, what kind of return on investment do we get? >> for inmates who participate in the residential drug abuse program, for every dollar we invest there's a $2.69 savings and the total number of individuals we have participating in residential
4:22 am
drug abuse program treatment right now is 16000 inmates and we'd like to see that number increase which we again, as i stated know that it is very you know productive. our overall plan is to increase the number of programs we have so we can have the maximum number of inmates participate. >> what's your view on awarding inmates' good time credits for participating in the intensive recidivism reduction programs or increasing the number of opportunities for inmates to earn credits through education or vocational programs? >> the department as well as the administration have continued to support the legislative proposal. i definitely cop cur and believe that their important. when you look at the additional seven days of good conduct time added to an inmate's credit for time off their sentence because right now they get 47 days.
4:23 am
it is very beneficial to the state and security of the facility, and it's not where an inmate would be rewarded something for not having good behavior, and it helps us. for the inmates we believe we can ultimately get a large number of inmates to participate in evidence-based programs to receive up to 60 days. also, their term by participating in more than 180 days within a calendar year, the programs that you mentioned. we believe it's beneficial, and it definitely ultimately helps with public safety because the majority of the inmates will be released and being exposed to the cognitive behavior programs only enhances. >> uh-huh just one last question. in your testimony, you acknowledge the tragic deaths of two federal bureau prison employees, and i know we extend sympathy to their families. what do you think can be done to
4:24 am
improve safety for prison staff while on or off duty? >> what we need to do to improve safety of our staff is it comes down to a resource issue. we are doing more with less and the staff are proud to take op the mission because this is why they have elected to serve this country by working in corrections. when you're dealing with large numbers on any given day throughout this country, we have one office working in our housing units providing oversight for 150-plus inmates. ..
4:25 am
thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for joining us today. as i've expressed many times on previous occasions, in my view the federal government has been for decade enacting and subsequently enforcing far too much substantiative criminal law. as a result of that, our federal prison system is overcrowded, and it's extremely costly as we've heard today, bureau of
4:26 am
prison consumes a significant chair of the overall budget of the u.s. department of justice. using resources that might otherwise be used effectively in other areas to enhance public safety in the united states. although long mandatory minimum sentences of four drug offenses don't tell the whole story of the increasing overcrowded federal prison population i think they do share a very significant part of the problem of overcrowding. i think we have to look closely at the scheme of mandatory minimum sentences as a result. i think we have to do it to see where incremental changes can safely and effectively be made to these sentences to reduce the federal prison population and to
4:27 am
reduce costs while at the same time preserve -- the legislation i've cosponsored with senator durbin, s1410 would decrease mandatory minimum sentences for certain category of drug offenders. my first question for you mr. samuels, whether this type of legislation should succeed as widely expected to do if it were passed in helping decrease the federal prison population over the next few years over the decade or so following the enactment. what would it do for you? what would it go for the bureau of prisons as far as making it easier to do your job if we succeeded in reducing the overcrowded problem.
4:28 am
>> thank you senator lee. i would start by saying i agree that reform needs to take place. the specific of the various build being considered is something needs to be considered bit appropriate individual within the department relative to policy issues. to your question what would it do to help the bureau roy of prison. any reduction within our population that ensures that there is no threat to public safety obviously helps us effectively run our institutions. and we're not dealing with the competitive issues within the population when you're trying to do as much as you can to stretch resources within the environment. because the increase within the population which search shows that when you continue to add more and more enemy the propensity of violence increases and put our staff and inmate to
4:29 am
include the surrounding community where our institutions are located at risk. >> two of your biggest concerns i would have to imagine would be one prison safety. safety within the prison. safety of the prisoners themselves and of your personnel. and also the effectiveness of your programs to minimize resit vifm. i would imagine reducing the overcrowding problem would -- then have a positive effect on your ability to manage both of those concerns. >> yes sir. >> good. what programs do you have in place currently to ensure that those released from prison including those released earlier than otherwise might be. what program do you have in place to make sure they don't present a throat public safety when they released. >> as i mentioned earlier we
4:30 am
have numerous cognitive behavior program we model because of the research showing type of program are very effective. and we are constantly encouraging inmates to participate in these programs, and we are very successful on many occasions in doing so. but i would share with the subcommittee hear today that we really need to have some type of ib centive to get more of the inmates involved in the program. this is why i continue to support and i believe that the sentencing credit that could be provided similar to what we have with our debt. and many of the individuals know when they participate they can get up to a year off their sentence. at the same time they're being exposed to the program and they received a benefit which ultimately helps them with the transition from prison back to the community. and


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on