Bill Barr announces federal prisons director replacement

During the 2016 presidential campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump said he would bring change to Washington. Judging from the news this week, Attorney General Bill Barr has been hard at work helping him deliver on that promise. 

On Tuesday, Barr announced that Michael Carvajal will take charge of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He will be replacing Kathy Hawk Sawyer, who became interim director following the death of high-profile inmate Jeffery Epstein.

Sleeping guards and malfunctioning cameras

Epstein was being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan on federal sex trafficking charges when he was found dead in his cell last August.

While jail procedures dictated that he should have been checked on every 30 minutes, both of Epstein’s guards fell asleep on the night of his death.

The officers, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, were charged with falsifying records on the night in question. They pleaded not guilty.

What’s more, 2 cameras positioned outside of his cell were later found to be malfunctioning. Footage from a third was reported by the Washington Post to be “unusable.”

Epstein’s cause of death was found to be a suicide, a controversial determination that many disagreed with. His sex trafficking operation was alleged to have involved a number of wealthy and powerful individuals who might have been incriminated during his trial. The aftermath of the incident lead to a major shakeup in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Experience with protecting witnesses

Prior to taking on his new role, Carvajal was in charge of “the bureau’s intelligence efforts, the Witness Security and Victim-Witness Programs and inmate transportation, among other duties.”

“Michael’s nearly 30 years of experience with the Bureau will serve him exceptionally well as he takes on these new responsibilities, and I am confident he will do an outstanding job as director,” Barr said regarding Carvajal in a statement.

He added, “I want to thank Kathy Hawk Sawyer for her exceptional leadership and helping us identify a highly qualified individual to serve as permanent director.”

Following Epstein’s death, Sawyer declared, “Any allegations of misconduct are taken very seriously by the agency and will be responded to appropriately.”

“I am committed to this agency and am confident we will restore the public’s trust in us,” she promised.

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