District Of Columbia
Democratic Leader Eleanor Holmes Norton

House Democratic Leader Eleanor Holmes Norton today introduced legislation to require the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to provide information to the District of Columbia government on individuals convicted of felonies under the District’s criminal code in order to ensure that the District of Columbia has services ready for these individuals when they return home from BOP. This legislation is required because the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) holds D.C. residents convicted of D.C. Code offenses, and the BOP maintains that federal privacy laws prevent it from sharing information on such individuals with the District of Columbia government.

District of Columbia

Elenor Homes District Of Columbia

“Individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies face significant hurdles in preparing to return to society because most are in BOP facilities hundreds or even thousands of miles from the District, their families and their loved ones,” Norton said in her introductory statement. “Because they are frequently housed so far away from the District, coordinating returning citizens’ reentry into society is difficult.

“Under this bill, the District government would be aware of the health and other needs of individuals convicted of felonies under the D.C. Code before they are released from the Bureau of Prisons custody.” Only those charged with felonies under the District of Columbia Code must be housed by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) for violating non-federal laws.”

The following is Norton’s introductory remarks.

Statement of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton on the Introduction of

the District of Columbia Code Returning Citizens Coordination Act

March 7, 2022

            Today, I rise to introduce the District of Columbia Code Returning Citizens Coordination Act.  This bill would require the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to provide information to the District of Columbia government on individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies under BOP jurisdiction to help ensure the District has services ready when such individuals return home.

Individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies face significant hurdles in preparing to return to society because most are 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. 

Under this bill, the District government would know the health and other needs of individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies before they are released from BOP custody.  Individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies are the only individuals required to be housed by BOP for violations of non-federal laws.

            Currently, under federal privacy laws, BOP is allowed to share information on individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies with the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia (CSOSA), since CSOSA is also a federal agency, but not with the D.C. government.  This bill would require BOP to treat the D.C. government as they do other federal agencies for the purposes of—but only for the purposes of—federal privacy laws, such as the Privacy Act, so that the District government can obtain the necessary information to provide appropriate services to returning citizens.

            Specifically, the bill would require BOP, on an annual basis, to provide the District government the following information on individuals convicted of D.C. Code felonies under BOP jurisdiction: the name, date of birth and Federal Register number, the facility where housed and the scheduled release date.  In addition, upon the request of the D.C government, BOP would have to provide the D.C. government with the same information it provides CSOSA on such individuals.

I strongly urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

Source: norton.house.gov