AG Barr appoints new BOP director amid Epstein controversy

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/ag-barr-appoints-bureau-prisons-director-amid-controversy/story?id=65059130

Attorney General William Barr on Monday announced the appointment of a new director for the Bureau of Prisons amid the scandal over Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide while in federal custody.

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Dr. Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, who previously served in the position for over a decade, between 1992-2003, will take over the role from acting director Hugh Hurwitz, who has been temporarily serving in the position since May of last year.

According to a Department of Justice press release, Hurwitz will remain in the BOP as Assistant Director of the bureau’s Reentry Services Division.

PHOTO: Attorney General William Barr speaks at a press conference in New Orleans, Aug. 12, 2019. ABC News
Attorney General William Barr speaks at a press conference in New Orleans, Aug. 12, 2019.

Barr also announced the appointment of Dr. Thomas R. Kane as the Deputy Director of BOP.

The leadership announcement comes at a moment of crisis for the BOP, following the suicide death of Epstein in the Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center more than a week ago.

There are at least five ongoing federal investigations into the matter, after Barr last week singled out what he described as “serious irregularities” that investigators had already found surrounding the death of one of the government’s most high-profile inmates.

PHOTO: An undated handout photo made available by New York State Division of Criminal Justice showing Jeffrey Epstein, issued 25 July 2019.New York State Division of Criminal Justice/EPA-EFE/REX via Shutterstock, FILE
An undated handout photo made available by New York State Division of Criminal Justice showing Jeffrey Epstein, issued 25 July 2019.

Last Tuesday, Barr announced that two guards who had been responsible for observing Epstein had been placed on administrative leave, and that a new acting warden would serve at MCC until the conclusion of the investigations.

The move marks the second time that Barr has appointed Sawyer as the nation’s BOP director. During his first time serving as Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush, Barr appointed Dr. Sawyer to the position, where she served until her retirement in 2003.

According to her bio on the BOP website, Dr. Sawyer started her career in 1976 as a psychologist at FCI Morgantown, West Virginia, and eventually became the leader of the prison system.

Thomas Kane, served as Deputy Director and then Acting Director during the Obama Administration and through the Trump administration and has had an over 40 year career at the Bureau of Prisons.

Like Dr. Sawyer, Dr. Kane is a psychologist.