Pledge to Join the Fight!
Across the country, more than 150,000 people are caged in over 120 federal prisons. Despite a 33% decrease in the federal prison population over the past decade, the Bureau of Prisons has built new facilities, expanded others, and keeps asking to fund more—all at skyrocketing costs to American taxpayers.
Today, the majority of federal prisons are below capacity, in poor condition, and cost millions of dollars a year in upkeep. They also fail to reduce crime. Rife with corruption, violence, and horrific human rights abuses, and often absent long-promised programming, federal prisons more often perpetuate cycles of incarceration than actually improve public safety.
There is no way to fight mass incarceration without shrinking the federal prison system. Dream Corps JUSTICE will work with formerly incarcerated people, justice-impacted families, and partners across the country to shrink the federal prison system.
Why Close Federal Prisons?
MYTH: Federal crimes are the most dangerous crimes.
News headlines and popular crime shows often depict federal prisons as a place for society’s most dangerous people. In reality, almost half of the people in federal prison are incarcerated for drug and other nonviolent offenses.
Originally, the Constitution only listed three federal crimes. Today, there are thousands of federal crimes — literally too many to count. Through mandatory minimum sentencing laws, a first-time low-level drug offense can receive a five to ten-year sentence without parole. The over-federalization of the criminal justice system is needlessly locking people up at the taxpayers’ expense.
How much do federal prisons cost?
MYTH: The more we spend on prisons, the more crime goes down.
Since 2000, the increase of incarceration accounted for nearly zero percent of the overall reduction in crime. -Vera InstituteThe Prison Paradox: More Incarceration Will Not Make Us Safer, 2017
The Bureau of Prisons spends more than $7 billion a year on the federal prison system. In 2021 alone, the cost per federally incarcerated person is close to $50,000—an entire year’s salary for many school teachers, firefighters, and workers across the country. And the truth is, rising costs don’t keep us safer.
By closing just 20 of the country’s federal prisons—many of which are more than 75 years old and trailed by a history of human rights abuses—Congress could save more than $1 billion a year. Savings from the closures could then be redirected towards community-based anti-recidivism and reentry programming, career training for former facilities staff, and other measures to reduce incarceration and ensure community safety.
Where Are Federal Prisons?
There are more than 120 federal prisons across the United States. While California, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Florida have the highest number of federal prisons, all but 13 states have at least one federal prison facility.
How Do We Close Federal Prisons?
MYTH: Closing federal prisons means letting violent and dangerous people walk free.
Just as the First Step Act has brought more than 17,000 people home from prison (June 2021), closing federal prisons and passing related justice reform legislation would bring home tens of thousands of elderly, terminally ill, nonviolent, as well as people with low- level offenses. That’s what this campaign is all about.
There are two main ways to shrink the federal prison system:
- Congressional Action – whether through legislation or a Commission
- Executive Action – President Biden could order these prison closures tomorrow
The Dream Corps JUSTICE Federal Prison Closure Campaign will work with leaders on both sides in Congress and with President Biden’s Administration to demand the reevaluation of the role of federal prisons in our criminal justice system and the closing of unnecessary facilities. We will do so by:
- Organizing directly impacted communities
- Educating the public about federal prisons
- Maintaining pressure on federal criminal justice legislation
Meet the Advisory Council
Interested in joining our campaign as a partner? Sign up here: https://www.tfaforms.com/4917013