Talking about Unescorted Prisoners Take the Bus |

Posted: September 17, 2009 in News and politics



Unescorted Prisoners Take the Bus |
May 31, 2009 Unescorted Prisoners Take the BusThanks to a little-known policy at the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the guy sitting next to you on the bus could be a convicted felon. As part of a cost-cutting program, the BOP allows more than 25,000 prisoners each year to ride unescorted and unannounced between federal correctional facilities. At least 50 have escaped, including a drug dealer who is now considered armed and dangerous. Traci Billingsley, a BOP spokeswoman, says that almost all of the inmates are traveling to halfway houses where they will come into contact with the public anyway. She adds that the other 6% of inmates are traveling to minimum-security facilities, most of which don’t even have fences. Prisoners who will travel alone are screened to make sure they “pose no significant risk.” Should federal prisoners be allowed to travel unescorted on public transportation?YesNoView ResultsBut bus-industry officials say that allowing prisoners to ride unescorted and unannounced on public transit does put passengers at risk. This spring, the American Bus Association (ABA) sent a letter to the BOP saying that the practice “imperils public safety” and demanding an immediate halt to the program. “The fact that this has been done and continues to be done in this kind of secretive way is very unsettling,” ABA president Peter Pantuso says. Read the bus drivers’ protest against unescorted prisoners… The BOP acknowledges that a small minority of the inmates it transfers via public transportation “fail to report to their designated locations” but insists that the cost savings is worth the risk. — J. Scott Orr

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