News and Commentary

Following Epstein’s Death, Barr Removes Acting Director Of Bureau Of Prisons

On Monday, Attorney General, William Barr, announced the reassignment of Hugh Hurwitz, the acting director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Hurwitz’ reassignment comes after the apparent suicide of financier, Jeffrey Epstein, on August 10 in New York as well as the murder of Boston mobster, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, in a federal prison in West Virginia last October. Hurwitz was previously Assistant Director of the Bureau of Prisons Reentry Services Division. He will return to his former job.

Barr named Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, who led the Federal Bureau of Prisons between 1992 until 2003, to return to her old job, as The Daily Mail reported. Barr stated, “I am pleased to welcome back Dr. Hawk Sawyer as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Under Dr. Hawk Sawyer’s previous tenure at the Bureau, she led the agency with excellence, innovation, and efficiency, receiving numerous awards for her outstanding leadership.” He added:

I am also pleased to announce Dr. Thomas R. Kane as the Deputy Director of BOP. Dr. Kane served in the Bureau for over 30 years under four Attorney Generals and is known for his expertise and proficiency in prison management and organization. During this critical juncture, I am confident Dr. Hawk Sawyer and Dr. Kane will lead BOP with the competence, skill, and resourcefulness they have embodied through their government careers.

The New York Times noted that Barr had named Sawyer to the post in 1992 when he served as Attorney General the first time; she became the first woman to run the Bureau of Prisons.

Barr thanked Hurwitz, asserting, “I would also like to thank Hugh Hurwitz, Acting Director of BOP, for his dedication and service to the Bureau over the last 15 months. I have asked Mr. Hurwitz to return to his responsibilities as Assistant Director of BOP’s Reentry Services Division, where he will work closely with me in overseeing the implementation of one of the Department’s highest priorities, the First Step Act.”

Politico reported that Hurwitz had served in the Education Department, the Food and Drug Administration and worked for NASA’s office of inspector general … As director of the bureau, Hurwitz was responsible for overseeing 122 facilities, 37,000 staff member and about 184,000 inmates.”

Last week, warden Lamine N’Diaye, of the Metropolitan Correctional Center where Epstein died, was temporarily assigned to the Bureau of Prisons’ regional office as the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general investigate the matter. AP noted, “Guards on the unit are now suspected of falsifying log entries to show they were making the checks, according to another person familiar with the probe. In the past, guards at both federal and state prisons have faced criminal charges over false entries in duty logs that were discovered after something went wrong with a prisoner.”

Barr said last week of the Epstein case, “Most importantly, this case was important to the victims who had the courage to come forward, and deserve the opportunity to confront the accused in the courtroom. Let me assure you this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice, and they will get it.”