Interior Secretary temporarily halts use of prison labor at national parks after internal probe

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Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Thursday temporarily halted the use of prison labor in national parks after an internal watchdog investigation called on the National Park Service (NPS) to develop standardized policies for its use of prison labor. 

“I hereby order and direct NPS to immediately cease the use of prison labor. Any agreements in place regarding the same are hereby rendered null and void,” he said in a memo. 

A department official told The Hill that the prison work program would only be stopped until proper policies and protocols are established. Bernhardt has given officials 60 days to come up with such policies. 

Earlier on Thursday, Interior Department’s inspector general’s office released a management advisory which said that NPS, “has no policies or formal procedures in place for the management of inmates while they are under the supervision of the NPS and working in national parks.” 

It found that

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