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U.S. attorney general shakes up prison bureau after Epstein death

16 Comments

U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Monday shook up the leadership at the federal Bureau of Prisons, removing its acting chief following the suicide of financier Jeffrey Epstein in a New York City jail.

Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, a veteran of the Bureau of Prisons, will return to the agency to serve as its director, Barr said. He named another former agency official, Thomas Kane, to serve as her deputy.

The Bureau of Prisons has about 37,000 employees and oversees 122 facilities, which house about 180,000 inmates.

Hugh Hurwitz, who had been acting chief since May 2018, was reassigned to his prior post as director of the bureau's re-entry services division.

Epstein was arrested on July 6 and pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls as young as 14.

He died on Aug. 10, when he was found unresponsive in his jail cell. An autopsy report released on Friday concluded he committed suicide by hanging.

Prosecutors asked a federal judge on Monday to dismiss the criminal case against Epstein, a standard procedure when a defendant dies. The dismissal has no effect on their investigation into people who may have conspired with Epstein.

The government "remains committed to doing its utmost to stand up for the victims who have already come forward, as well as for the many others who have yet to do so," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a letter to the judge.

Epstein's death at the age of 66 at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in lower Manhattan triggered multiple investigations and had prompted Barr to criticize "serious irregularities" at the facility.

"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 throughout their government careers," Barr said in a statement.

Barr previously ordered the reassignment of the warden at the MCC. Two corrections officers assigned to Epstein's unit were placed on administrative leave pending investigations.

Lawyers for Epstein did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.

His lawyers had said in a statement last week that they were"not satisfied" with the medical examiner's conclusions and planned to carry out their own investigation, seeking prison videos taken around the time of his death.

Epstein had been on suicide watch at the jail but was taken off prior to his death, a source who was not authorized to speak on the matter previously told Reuters. Two jail guards are required to make separate checks on all prisoners every 30 minutes, but that procedure was not followed, the source added.

Epstein, a registered sex offender who once socialized with U.S. President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton, pleaded guilty in 2008 to Florida state charges of unlawfully paying a teenage girl for sex and was sentenced to 13 months in a county jail, a deal widely criticized as too lenient.

Senator Ben Sasse, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Oversight Subcommittee, has urged Barr to void the agreement and said that "heads must roll" after Epstein's death.

"This is a good start, but it's not the end," Sasse said of Barr's announcement. "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."

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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A bit late now, isn't it?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In 2017, the Trump administration implemented a hiring freeze for federal correctional facilities, resulting is substantial losses in manpower. In 2018, Trump requested almost a 4% decrease in funding for federal prisons. At the same time, Trump has been increasing funding to private prisons, which were big donors to his campaign. While there can be no excuse for failing to safeguard such a high priority prisoner, firing people lower on the food chain and refusing to own up to problems that were caused by trump prison policies is par for the course.

Barr and Trump act like they were not in charge. In fact, federal correctional facilities report to the Attorney General and the DoJ reports to the president. Trump is quick to claim that he can do what he likes to the DoJ, yet somehow doesn't feel he or his Attorney General have any responsibility for how poorly the facilities are run. Neither does Trump take responsibility for the staffing shortfalls that are the result of his policies. That's our president in a nutshell. If something good happens, it was all because of him. If something bad happens, it is always someone else's fault.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Better late than never, eh, Barr?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

the suicide of financier Jeffrey Epstein 

The conspiracy theory is that Epstein committed suicide.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They should've been watching Epstein 24/7, especially after his first suicide attempt.

Being sloppy at your job is no excuse.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Barr found his fall guy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Understaffed, overworked and in many cases, privatized.

An abhorrent system.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They should've been watching Epstein 24/7, especially after his first suicide attempt.

Yeah, but some powerful people wanted him dead.

Barr found his fall guy.

Are the sure the Clintons didn't have anything to do with this, being as how Bill flew on Lolita Express so many times?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Barr found his fall guy.

Maybe it was Holder...

Barr and Trump act like they were not in charge. In fact, federal correctional facilities report to the Attorney General and the DoJ reports to the president. Trump is quick to claim that he can do what he likes to the DoJ, yet somehow doesn't feel he or his Attorney General have any responsibility for how poorly the facilities are run. Neither does Trump take responsibility for the staffing shortfalls that are the result of his policies. That's our president in a nutshell. If something good happens, it was all because of him. If something bad happens, it is always someone else's fault.

You dug really deep on that one. Lol

This is all none sense, if liberals think that they can in some bizarre way Pin Trump on the person responsible for Epstein’s death and how the prison facility was operated, it’s going to be another dead end for liberals, but if you think it’ll give Democrats in some way political points, please try it, pleeeeese.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yeah, but some powerful people wanted him dead.

But only the white house had the means to have him killed...

Are the sure the Clintons didn't have anything to do with this, being as how Bill flew on Lolita Express so many times?

Seeing as he and Trump were best friends, he was in Trump's personal custody, and he ended up dead, it's weird you're looking at the Clintons. Especially when Trump is a known pedophile who stared at pre-teens naked when he owned the miss teen usa pagent.

Very suspicious.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Signed a new will three days before his death. Worth at least $600 million plus art plus antiques plus property. Placed into trust.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Shaking up" after the horse has bolted,eh? Bumbling Barr just playing his position.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Streanger

Teen. Not pre-teen. Miss Teen USA contestant are aged 14-19.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Black Sabbath But they want it to be pre-teens so badly. Titillation is central to interest in the case and people's worst imaginings are more important than the truth it seems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Norman

Who is "they?"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Black Sabbath Most people fascinated with this case, especially those focused on the details of the charges and allegations against Epstein rather than his highly suspicious death in prison. Titillation and jealousy drives most interest, with a nice smattering of self-loathing for it too. Its how teens suddenly get labeled pre-teens and even children. The deep denial is off the charts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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