Jeffrey Epstein

Justice Department Shakes Up Bureau of Prisons Leadership Following Jeffrey Epstein's Death

Criminal justice reformers say the federal prison system is in desperate need of more oversight.


Attorney General William Barr removed the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons today, nine days after billionaire Jeffrey Epstein died in a federal jail in Manhattan.

The Justice Department announced in a press release today that Barr is appointing Kathleen Hawk Sawyer as director of the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), replacing acting director Hugh Hurwitz, who will return to his former position as an assistant director.

Hawk Sawyer previously served as director from 1992 to 2003, overlapping with Barr's previous tenure as attorney general, from 1991 to 1993.

Epstein's alleged suicide has put the BOP, which holds roughly 177,000 inmates, under intense public scrutiny. Barr said in a speech last week that he was "appalled" by Epstein's death, and multiple federal agencies, as well as the House Judiciary Committee, are now investigating the matter.

As Reason reported, the dysfunction that the Justice Department has reportedly uncovered at the Metropolitan Correctional Center—guards reportedly fell asleep when they were supposed to be monitoring Epstein and falsified logs to cover it up—is commonplace and has been reported on by news outlets and watchdogs for years.

Chronic staff shortages have led to overworked BOP staff, and in some cases nurses and other auxiliary staff are forced to guard cell blocks.

"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. "While we're cautiously optimistic about these changes, we continue to call on Congress to exercise their authority to provide the oversight necessary for this entity, which is in dire need of systemic change."

The BOP has been without a permanent director since 2018. Former Army general Mark Inch was appointed to the position in 2017, but he only lasted nine months before stepping down. He was reportedly caught in a power struggle between former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, who is also the president's son-in-law.

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  2. I would be appalled as well if a professionally trained staff couldn’t pull off a suicide better than that.
    Maybe the brightest and best are not a part of the deep state?

    1. The Russians fake suicides better than this.

    2. would we know about it if they were?

  3. Barr will show them, he’s going to play musical chairs with the acting-director position, just to show how serious he is!

    Don’t forget to find a couple low-level guards, preferably people they didn’t like to begin with, to pin the sole blame on.

    1. Someone who was planning to retire anyway, will be forced to “retire” over all of this.

      1. Naw, that would be admitting it was not suicide.

        This is the first step in trying out various scapegoats for shoddy supervision. It will never rise to the point of someone who actually did anything. It will only be about finding lazy supervisors.

    2. Don’t forget to find a couple low-level guards, preferably people they didn’t like to begin with, to pin the sole blame on

      They’ve got a union.

    3. …acting director Hugh Hurwitz, who will return to his former position as an assistant director.

      A heartbeat away from that directorship again. That heartbeat? The next Epstein’s.

      1. You suppose that even comes with a pay cut?

  4. bribes for dough, restructure for show.

  5. “Chronic staff shortages have led to overworked BOP staff, and in some cases nurses and other auxiliary staff are forced to guard cell blocks.”

    The acting director should have given himself a larger budget? Or incarcerated fewer inmates?

  6. Kathleen Hawk Sawyer

    Yet another white man?


  7. So Barr has just announced that everybody implicated in Epstein’s “suicide” will be reassigned to an undisclosed location where nobody’s going to be able to find them and talk to them and glean any information from them about what they may know about the “suicide” and this doesn’t appear at all suspicious?

  8. The money. Find out where his money came from and what he knew about those sources. Find out who he ripped off. It is not just the sex thing. I think he had a long list of “friends” of the type you never hear about.

    Everything you read about this guy tells you he was an operator, a shmoozer, kept things under wraps for a long time.

    Really it is just interesting. Don’t think it matters much.

  9. Remember the scene in Godfather where Michael goes the the hospital to see his father and the place is totally empty? It dawns on him what is happening, he finds his father in the hospital bed, moves him to another room and you know the rest.

    For some reason this story reminds me of that.

    1. It would be cool if Epstein survived, and they faked his death for the short term to throw his enemies off the trail. Though I doubt it

  10. The DOJ would be in damn big business shaking up the FBI and the intelligence agencies after their 2016 election meddling and subsequent coup attempt. Yes, stories of dirty sex involving rich people keep the proles titillated, but that’s not as big a deal as the apparatchiks annulling an election. The Epstein stuff is a sideshow.

    1. Raping multitudes of children and young teens is a real problem.

      1. So is attempted subversion of a national election. A juicy sex scandal involving rich people on a private island should not be the squirrel that diverts attention from an attempted coup.

  11. Translation: “The people responsible for handing Epstein a pre-knotted bed sheet, before heading out for covfefe, have been remove from the public eye.. and obvious, well known deficiencies BOP will require fresh faces, new bureaucracy, and of course.. more funding to “fix” it continue doing jack-shit about it..”

  12. Mr Trump. Lock her up, in that same NYC jail.

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  14. Well, it certainly did not take AG Barr very long to act. The people who blew it will now seek alternative employment.

    As an alternative to the conspiracy theories above, let me offer this: Never assume conspiracy when plain old stupidity will suffice.

    These jailers were just plan stupid.

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