As Senate leaders prepare to unveil a major legislative agenda in the next week, senators are facing an urgent choice.
Do they continue to make the same mistakes over and over again as they have for the past five years, or do they take a step back and take stock?
A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), has asked the House to postpone the start of a vote on the latest package of prison-relocation bills until after the midterm elections.
Grassley’s letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) and other lawmakers is part of a broader effort by senators to urge lawmakers to take a more thoughtful approach to reforming the nation’s prisons and jails.
For the past year, the two chambers have been in the middle of a long-running debate about how best to reform the nations most troubled facilities.
It’s been a marathon, with senators debating bills and amendments for months and months.
The most controversial measure, SB1351, would privatize prison facilities and send inmates to private facilities outside the federal government.
Critics of the bill, including a group of Democrats, have said the privatization plan would lead to overcrowding and other problems, and they have said it’s a giveaway to private prisons.
Grassley and his colleagues want to address those concerns with the House-passed Prisoner Safety and Health Care Package, which was unveiled on Wednesday.
The package would also expand funding for mental health care in the U.S. correctional system, with a focus on expanding treatment for people with mental illness and drug addiction.
The measure would also allow states to take on new prisoners from outside the country for up to a year.
Grassley has been one of the most vocal critics of the House plan, calling it “unconstitutional” and “unnecessary” in his letter to Ryan and other House leaders.
It would also take the House’s new bipartisan effort to reform prisons in the future and allow it to move forward without Senate approval, Grassley wrote.
The bill would provide federal money to states for the construction of new prisons, and it would expand the number of beds available to prisoners and the number they are housed in each facility.
Grassley is a longtime supporter of the Prisoner Legal Services and Corrections (PLSC) program that has helped to improve the health and safety of prisoners.
But in the past few years, the PLSC has become one of those programs that has become a lightning rod for criticism from conservative groups and Democratic lawmakers who have accused it of being a cash grab by private prison companies.
In the past, Grassley has also called the PL SC a “fraud.”
He has said the PL Council and other groups are “undermining and sabotaging” the work of his office and Congress to reform prison systems.
The House’s latest prison-reform bill would expand PLSC and other corrections programs and expand the federal role in overseeing the state-run prisons.
A House report last year found that PLSC helped reduce violent crime and the rate of recidivism in state prisons.
The report also found that the PLs cost was $2.9 billion over 10 years.
The Senate plan would take the Senate-led PLSC legislation and increase it by $3.2 billion over a decade.
But it would also cut funding for PLSC by $2 billion.
Grassley said the Senate plan will give states more leeway to create their own corrections systems and put more money toward rehabilitation and education.
The plan would also eliminate PLSCs ability to transfer prisoners to private companies, though Grassley said he hopes states can still do that.
Grassley called the Senate’s new proposal “a very dangerous idea that will make things worse.”
The bill’s co-sponsors include Grassley’s fellow Iowa Republican, Sen. Tom Cotton (R), and Sen. Dean Heller (R).
But the plan has also drawn criticism from other GOP senators.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.), for example, has said that the bill is a “staggering giveaway to prison companies.”
The legislation would also reduce funding for the Department of Justice and other agencies that work on corrections issues.
And it would eliminate the federal-level program for providing mental health services to prisoners.
The proposal would also end federal oversight of the Bureau of Prisons.
Grassley, who has been a vocal critic of the PLS, said he is concerned that the plan will encourage private prisons to build more prisons.
In a phone interview, Grassley said that his office has found that private prisons often do build more than they have to.
He said the private prisons in question often do so by overburdening the prison system and understaffing the prisons to the point where the prisons are “a breeding ground for gangs and drug dealers.”
He said he has no doubt that private prison executives would like to build prisons if they had the money and political support to do so.
But he said the