AG Barr appoints new BOP director amid Epstein controversy

William Barr

William Barr

Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, a veteran of the Bureau of Prisons, will return the agency to serve as its director, Barr said on Monday.

A statement from Barr gave no specific reason for the reassignment.

"It shouldn't have taken the death of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein for the Attorney General to see that the BOP needs real oversight and has for quite some time", says Holly Harris, the executive director of the Justice Action Network, a criminal justice reform group.

Legislators, advocates and even prison guards had been sounding the alarm about risky conditions there for years, but there has been no public indication that federal prison officials took any action to address the safety concerns.

Politico reported that Hurwitz had served in the Education Department, the Food and Drug Administration and worked for NASA's office of inspector general ... Barr stated, "I am pleased to welcome back Dr. Hawk Sawyer as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons".

According to the statement, Sawyer began working at the bureau in 1976 as a psychologist before taking on numerous other roles throughout the bureau.

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There are at least five ongoing federal investigations into the matter, after Barr last week singled out what he described as "serious irregularities" that investigators had already found surrounding the death of one of the government's most high-profile inmates. The Justice Department spokesperson also added that two staff members of the prison have been placed on administrative leave.

Attorney General William Barr appointed a new leadership team at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on Monday, in the wake of the death of convicted sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein.

"FCI Otisville Warden James Petrucci has been named Acting Warden of the MCC New York".

Attorney General William Barr reacted to the death two days later, telling people at an event that he was "appalled" and "frankly, angry", calling the death a "failure to adequately secure this prisoner".

"We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability". But let me assure you this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. "Attorney General Barr did the right thing by removing the head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and he ought to make every effort to prosecute every one of Epstein's co-conspirators to the fullest extent of the law". "Jeffrey Epstein should still be in a padded cell and under constant surveillance, but the justice system has failed Epstein's victims at every turn".

It has since been ruled by the New York City medical examiner's office that Epstein hanged himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. But he was taken off that watch at the end of July and returned to the jail's special housing unit.

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