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Letter to the Attorney General in Response to a Progress Report on the Bureau of Prisons' Work Release Program.

September 16, 1966

[ Released September 16, 1966. Dated September 14, 1966 ]

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

I have read the Progress Report on the Bureau of Prisons' Work Release Program which was authorized by the Prisoner Rehabilitation Act of 1965. The Director of the Bureau of Prisons, Myrl E. Alexander, and his associates responsible for the successful initiation of this program have my deep appreciation and gratitude. What has been accomplished in the year since I signed the Prisoner Rehabilitation Act is a remarkable achievement.

By means of this program, prisoners can work and earn money in neighboring communities. This prepares them for future release and lets them accumulate savings to start a new life. I was particularly impressed by the fact that 95 percent of those prisoners who participated in the program either successfully completed the program or are still participating. Only five percent have had to be removed.

As I stated in my message on crime last March:

"No national strategy against crime can succeed if we do not restore more of our first offenders to productive society. The best law enforcement has little value if prison sentences are only temporary and embittering way stations for men whose release means a return to crime."

I am confident that all those in the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Prisons responsible for carrying out the Prisoner Rehabilitation Act of 1965 will continue to expand the opportunities provided in this Act--building on the sound foundations of this first year's experience.

Sincerely,

LYNDON B. JOHNSON

Note: The President's letter was made public as part of a White House release which also included Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach's progress report on the first year of operation of the Bureau of Prisons work release program, under which inmates of Federal correctional institutions might be employed in nearby communities, returning to the institutions at night. The report in the form of a brief memorandum to the President is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol.2, p. 1302).

For the President's special message to the Congress on crime and law enforcement, dated March 9, 1966, see Item 116.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to the Attorney General in Response to a Progress Report on the Bureau of Prisons' Work Release Program. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/238614

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