Norton Introduces Bill to Assist Returning D.C. Citizens in Federal Custody
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today introduced the District of Columbia Returning Citizens Coordination Act of 2019, which would allow the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia (CSOSA) to share information with the District of Columbia government to help ensure the District has services ready for returning citizens. Norton’s bill would ensure that District agencies, in coordination with BOP and CSOSA, are better able to determine the services returning citizens may require before they are even released from prison. D.C. Code felons are the only local inmates housed by the BOP, spread in facilities throughout the United States, making this bill especially important for returning D.C. citizens.
Currently, BOP and CSOSA are allowed to share information regarding returning citizens with each other, since both are federal agencies, but not with D.C. agencies. This bill would allow BOP and CSOSA to treat agencies of the D.C. government as they do other federal agencies concerning federal privacy laws, such as the Privacy Act, with respect to returning citizens so that the District agencies that assist individuals during their return may more easily obtain the necessary information to provide appropriate services.
In her introductory statement, Norton writes: “D.C. inmates face significant hurdles in preparing to return to society because most are spread across the country in BOP facilities hundreds or even thousands of miles from the District, their families and their loved ones. Because they are frequently housed so far away from the District, coordinating returning citizens’ reentry into society is difficult. This bill would make the coordination efforts between the BOP, CSOSA and District agencies less burdensome and more efficient.”