A survey released by the sentencing reform organization FAMM found that 82 percent of respondents said they believe “that states and the federal government should have a system of independent oversight for their prisons.” The survey said 68 percent of respondents do not trust government agencies to investigate their own problems and honestly report on them to lawmakers and the public. Respondents said it is important for independent oversight bodies to be fully staffed (91 percent), have authority to investigate complaints from prison staff and prisoners (91 percent), and have full access to the prison system’s facilities and documents (90 percent).
“It’s been said that sunlight is the best disinfectant — and our prisons and jails are the darkest places in the nation,” said FAMM President Kevin Ring. “With no meaningful oversight, our prison systems are rife with waste, fraud and abuse. Incarcerated people and correctional officers are not safe, and our elected leaders are not even aware of the problems that need to be fixed. Our poll reveals that an overwhelming majority of the public – Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike – wants that to change. FAMM's Visit A Prison campaign encourages lawmakers to tour the prisons in their jurisdiction.