Attorney General William Barr announced Monday the appointment of a new director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons following the shocking suicide of accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein inside a federal lockup earlier this month.
Dr. Kathleen Hawk Sawyer is set to take over as director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a position she previously served in for 11 years beginning in 1992, a Department of Justice news release said.
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The BOP’s Former Acting Director, Hugh J. Hurwitz, who was appointed by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in May 2018, was reassigned to a role as a deputy in charge of the bureau’s re-entry programs, where he will work with Barr on putting in place the First Step Act, a criminal justice overhaul.
The change in leadership comes amid the fallout from the death of Epstein, 66, who hanged himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10 while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy.
The news of the disgraced financier’s sudden death sparked speculation and conspiracy theories as to how he could have killed himself in a high-security federal lockup in which he was supposed to be closely watched. Barr opened an investigation into “serious irregularities” uncovered at the jail.
Those guards on Epstein’s unit failed to check on him every half hour, as required, and are suspected of falsifying log entries to show they had, several people familiar with the matter told the Associated Press. Both guards were working overtime because of staffing shortages, the people said.
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Barr also tapped Dr. Thomas R. Kane to serve as the agency’s new deputy director.
“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 the news release.
Fox News’ Travis Fedschun and The Associated Press contributed to this report.