The panel is co-chaired by former United States Attorney General Nicholas de B. Katzenbach, who was appointed by President Johnson, and the Honorable John J. Gibbons, former Chief Judge of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, who was appointed by President Nixon. The 21-member, nonpartisan panel includes other respected civic leaders with experience in the administration of justice and law enforcement, seasoned corrections professionals, advocates for prisoner's rights, former prisoners, and members of the religious community.
"The United States correctional system costs over 60 billion dollars annually. This year, an estimated 13.5 million people will spend time in prison or jail, and, on any given day, 750,000 men and women work in correctional facilities," said Katzenbach. "Despite these numbers and some compelling evidence of abuse and safety failures inside prisons and jails, there is little public knowledge about the nature and extent of the problems and how to solve them. Instead, we seem to have a gap between our cherished ideals about justice and the realities of the prison environment."