Bureau of Prisons:

Recent Concerns and Challenges for the Future

T-GGD-95-177: Published: Jun 8, 1995. Publicly Released: Jun 8, 1995.

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GAO discussed the challenges and issues confronting the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), focusing on: (1) prison crowding; (2) options for expanding BOP capacity; (3) privatization; and (4) inmate health care. GAO noted that: (1) BOP 1989 expansion plans were understated due to a rapidly increasing prison population and BOP inability to fully use halfway houses to relieve prison crowding; (2) BOP use of boot camps as an alternative to prisons in 1993 did not have a major impact on overcrowding; (3) BOP saved about $1 billion in construction costs when it implemented a double-bunking standard in its prison designs; (4) as of 1993, BOP had 9 facilities on active military bases and 22 facilities on former military property, had acquired 2 additional military properties, and was pursuing 15 other military properties as potential sites; (5) BOP plans to conduct and evaluate a pilot test of federal prison privatization; (6) major issues facing prison health care include insufficient substance abuse programs, patient neglect, incompetent physicians, unacceptable medical practices, and the spread of AIDS; (7) BOP is implementing a pilot study to determine if health care costs could be reduced through the use of preferred provider organizations and sharing agreements with other agencies; and (8) the principal barrier BOP faces is confining offenders in appropriate facilities in a cost effective manner.

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