Barr Appoints New Bureau Of Prisons Leadership As DOJ Probes Epstein's Death

William Barr

Attorney General William Barr confirmed Monday the appointment of a new director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons after the death of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein inside his New York City jail cell. The director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons is not now subject to Senate confirmation, though there have been efforts over the years to change that.

Barr said he was appointing Kathleen Hawk Sawyer as director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, replacing Hugh Hurwitz who served as acting director for the past 15 months.

In a statement, Barr said Hugh Hurwitz, who had served in the acting position since previous year, would return to the assistant director position he formerly occupied.

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.

Former federal prosecutor David S. Weinstein, who is now in private practice in Miami but not involved in the Epstein case, said states and US territories have certain timeframes within which to make a claim against someone's estate.

Epstein's alleged suicide has put the BOP, which holds roughly 177,000 inmates, under intense public scrutiny.

US Attorney General William Barr testifies during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington April 9, 2019.

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It was not immediately clear whether the Epstein suicide would prompt renewed calls for structural changes, but Nebraska GOP Sen.

Citing "serious irregularities", Barr quickly reassigned the warden of the NY prison and two guards were placed on leave. But Barr said last week that officials had uncovered "serious irregularities" and was angry that staff members at the jail had failed to "adequately secure this prisoner".

That wasn't the only move Barr announced, however. 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". Epstein was at the time under "special observation status", indicating that he should have had a cell mate and jail guards should have checked on him every 30 minutes.

Hurwitz was previously appointed to his role by former AG Jeff Sessions.

Hurwitz also led the agency when Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger was killed in a federal prison in West Virginia in October. She first served as director back in 1992 and left the position in 2003.

"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.

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