WASHINGTON DC –
Department of Interior Report on Tribal Jails Now Public
Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee Senator Byron Dorgan today made available a draft study on the status of Indian country jails, titled “Master Plan for Justice Services in Indian Country.”
In February of 2006, the Department of the Interior hired a contractor to conduct a comprehensive study of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and tribal jails, and provide recommendations to correct shortcomings in the jails system. After repeated requests by Chairman Dorgan, a draft of the Master Plan was released to the Indian Affairs Committee on June 18, 2008.
The draft Master Plan consists of detailed assessments of 38 tribal jails, including facility observations, inspections, interviews with officers and inmates, and photographs. It concludes that the life and safety of officers and inmates are at risk due to the lack of adequate justice facilities and programs in Indian Country, tribal jail facilities are inadequate, and that there are not enough corrections officers to sustain the jails, among other findings.
The Committee included the Draft Master Plan in the June 19, 2008 hearing record, which is available below.
“This report confirms what so many in Indian Country have known all along– the tribal jail system is unbelievably broken,” said Dorgan, who introduced the Tribal Law and Order Act to help improve law enforcement activities in Indian Country. “There are not enough beds, facilities must be improved, and there is a lack of trained staff. This is a crisis that allows half of all of those in Indian Country who should be incarcerated to go free.”
COMMITTEE HEARING RECORD – JUNE 19, 2008
(Note: These are large files (22 MB). Right-Click on the link and select “Save Target As…” to download the files to your computer)
PART 1 | PART 4
PART 2 | PART 5
PART 3 | PART 6