The top official in the federal Bureau of Prisons, Michael Carvajal, has made the stunning announcement that he is stepping down after a report alleged pervasive corruption and abuse in the prison system.
After 30 years at the bureau, Carvajal, who was appointed to be the chief of the bureau under President Donald Trump, has informed Attorney General Merrick Garland of his resignation, Fox News reported Wednesday.
As Fox notes, Carvajal’s decision comes after an Associated Press report in November alleged that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is filled with “abuse, graft and corruption, and has turned a blind eye to employees accused of misconduct.”
More than 100 BOP officials arrested
The AP reported that more than 100 BOP officials have been arrested, convicted, or sentenced for crimes since 2019, including one warden charged with sexually abusing an inmate. Carvajal was appointed by former Attorney General Bill Barr in February 2020.
The Associated Press also lambasted Carvajal’s “failed” response to the pandemic, reporting that 266 federal prisoners have died from the coronavirus. In light of the report, Democrat Dick Durbin (D-IL), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, pressured Carvajal to step aside.
In a statement, Durbin sought to make a partisan point, emphasizing that the official was “handpicked” by Barr and “has overseen a series of mounting crises,” as Fox reported.
Durbin called on Joe Biden’s hyper-political attorney general to “replace Director Carvajal with a reform-minded Director who is not a product of the BOP bureaucracy.”
Democrat praises resignation
After Carvajal announced his resignation, Durbin thanked him for “an opportunity for new, reform-minded leadership at the Bureau of Prisons.” Carvajal will reportedly stay in the role until a replacement is named.
He was first appointed the BOP’s director in 2020 after the fallout from Jeffrey Epstein’s mysterious 2019 death in a since-shuttered Manhattan jail. The Justice Department thanked Carvajal in a statement.
“We are very appreciative of Director Carvajal’s service to the department over the last three decades,” Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said, according to Fox.
“His operational experience and intimate knowledge of the Bureau of Prisons — the department’s largest component — helped steer it during critical times, including during this historic pandemic,” Coley added.
It seems doubtful that whoever Biden appoints will clean up the system — especially in light of the mistreatment of Trump supporters arrested after Jan. 6, 2021.