BIA announced reforms to OJS Correctional Program

The Bureau of Indian Affairs announced a series of reforms to the Office of Justice Services (OJS) Correctional Program to protect the rights, dignity and safety of those who are in custody.

After concerning reports about the treatment of incarcerated individuals the BIA launched a three-month review in the fall of 2021, which included the commissioning of a third-party report to review current conditions in BIA operated and funded detention facilities. Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland says “We will not shy away from acknowledging the past and taking ownership of the path to improve conditions in our facilities. The reforms we are announcing today (Monday Feb. 14, 2022) represeent a new chapter for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as we move toward organizational culture change.”

The report lays out recommendations for the Interior Department informed by an assessment of the thoroughness and effectiveness of the 16 closed in-custody investigations, if the BIA’s current in-custody death investigation reporting meets modern standards.

Assistant Secretary Newland will further outline the reforms that the BIA has undertaken, as well as the overall culture change he is overseeing at OJS to place peoples’ safety and wellbeing at the core of the organization, at the National Congress of American Indians 2022 Executive Council Winter Session.