Federal Prisons Director to Retire After Rocky Tenure

The director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Michael Carvajal, is stepping down as the investigation of the Associated Press reported widespread abuse in his agency.

According to the Justice Department, Carvajal told Attorney General Merrick Garland about his resignation.

Carvajal’s Tenure was Marked with Extreme Irregularities

Recently, the Associated Press reported since the start of 2019, over 100 workers of the Bureau of Prisons were arrested, followed by their sentencing or convictions.

Included in these arrests was a warden who sexually abused an inmate in prison. The latest situation prompted Congress to investigate the crisis.

Many lawmakers, including the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dick Durbin, urged the DOJ to remove the director from his post.

As per the Associated Press, Carvajal’s tenure in the Department is marked with extreme irregularities.

These irregularities include the spread of coronavirus in prisons, jailbreaks, deaths of inmates, and low staff that has resulted in hampered responses, in case of emergencies in prisons. 

Anthony Coley, the spokesman of the Department of Justice, appreciated Carvajal for his three decades of service in the agency.

Coley stated Carvajal led the bureau amid the historical times of the pandemic via his knowledge and operational experience.

Biden faced pressure to remove Carvajal

When Biden promised criminal justice reform, his administration faced immense pressure to remove Carvajal.

While criticizing the director, Dick Durbin asserted Carvajal failed at implementing many policies of various administrations, including the “First Step Act,” which was passed during the Trump administration.

According to Durbin, Carvajal’s resignation will pave the way for new leadership, which can help transform the Bureau of Prisons.

The Biden administration discussed the idea of removing Carvajal in spring last year.

This happened when the AP revealed the shortage of staff in federal prisons encouraged the agency to use cooks, teachers, and other staff members to protect inmates.

Carvajal, who is 54 years old, was appointed by Trump’s Attorney General William Barr. After his arrival, the pandemic struck national prisons, thus impacting thousands of inmates and leaving 266 dead.

This crisis prompted many states to release inmates prematurely, which has sparked GOP backlash.

Senator Tom Cotton recently claimed the release of prisoners en masse is the primary reason for surging crime rates across America.

Now, once again, COVID has started invading federal prisons, as more than 3,000 inmates and staff members were infected with the disease as of Wednesday.

The outgoing director is an Army veteran who made his way up in the agency, as he started his career as a correctional officer in a Texas prison during 1992.

Ultimately, he was appointed as a director after 28 years of service in 2020. However, he will serve as an interim until the appointment of his successor.

The Bureau is the largest agency of the DOJ, amounting to almost 37,500 employees and more than 150,000 prisons.