Deutch, Warren, Booker Investigate Private Prisoner Transport Company Following Reports of Inhumane and Unsafe Conditions
Public reports have documented inhumane and unsafe conditions in company’s vehicles, including unsanitary practices, gross negligence, physical and sexual abuse, and inattentiveness to basic and urgent medical needs of prisoners
Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22) and United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) sent a letter to Joel Brasfield, President of Prisoner Transportation Services, LLC (PTS), a private prisoner transport company that contracts with state and local law enforcement agencies and correctional facilities to transport pretrial arrestees and prisoners across interstate or intrastate jurisdictional lines.
Text of the Letter (PDF)
PTS and its subsidiaries have come under scrutiny following reports published in the Marshall Project and the New York Times of inhumane and unsafe conditions in their vehicles, including reports of unsanitary practices, gross negligence, physical and sexual abuse, and inattentiveness to basic and urgent medical needs of prisoners, many of whom have not been convicted of a crime. Since 2012, at least five individuals have died while in PTS’s custody.
“A steady stream of troubling media reports and lawsuits have raised numerous questions about the safety and security of PTS’s private prisoner transport services and the company’s compliance with Department of Justice regulations,” wrote the lawmakers. “These reports and allegations raise serious questions about your company’s conduct and its ability to ensure the safety and well-being of the individuals law enforcement agencies have entrusted to your custody.”
In April 2017, Congressman Deutch asked officials from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to investigate reports of deaths and abuse of prisoners on for-profit transport vehicles.
In 2000, Congress passed the Interstate Transportation of Dangerous Criminals Act, which established minimum safety and security standards for the transport of violent prisoners and included requirements regarding prisoners’ health and wellbeing, as well as standards to ensure the safety of the general public. However, since then, the private prisoner transportation industry has been the subject of very little oversight and has received almost no scrutiny from Congress.
To ensure that PTS is meeting appropriate safety and security standards and federal regulations, the lawmakers requested answers to a series of questions about PTS’s policies and procedures no later than March 13, 2019.