According to an NBC News spokeswoman, the head of the federal Bureau of Prisons, Michael Carvajal, is stepping down.
“After over 30 years in the BOP, Director Michael Carvajal has announced his retirement. He will remain in his role until a new Director is appointed,” said spokesperson Donald Murphy in a statement.
We had covered in previous articles multiple people calling for his removal from his post. It’s good to see that he has removed himself instead of having everyone call for his removal. Included in that was the OIG (Office of the Inspector General), citing the BOP’s failure at implementing the First Step Act. Finally, after multiple bouts of violence, a ton of BOP employees being caught committing crimes, and the deaths of 275 inmates due to failed BOP policies for COVID, Carvajal has left or said he would.
After an Associated Press investigation revealed misuse, dishonesty, and corruption among the agency’s workers and leadership, Carvajal resigned. According to the Associated Press, more than 100 federal prison employees have been arrested, convicted, or sentenced for different offenses since 2019. The administration has neglected to discipline officers who have been detained for crimes in certain cases.
According to an investigation by the Associated Press, a warden was indicted for sexual assault, while another was charged with murder, which first reported Carvajal’s departure.
A BOP spokesperson responded by telling the AP in November that the agency is “committed to ensuring the safety and security of all inmates in our population, our staff, and the public” and misconduct allegations are “thoroughly investigated for potential administrative discipline or criminal prosecution.” For anyone who knows the BOP, administrative policies, or How Carvajal runs the BOP, that is laughable.
Carvajal, a Trump appointee, was appointed director by then-Attorney General William Barr in 2020. He started as a correctional officer for the government in 1992 and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the warden of various federal prisons. Before becoming director, he was assistant director of the Correctional Programs Division in 2018.
In that capacity, he was in charge of an $8 billion budget, over 100 BOP facilities and offices, over 37,000 employees, and about 151,000 convicts.
Some senators chastised him for the agency’s Covid reaction after numerous jails experienced an increase in coronavirus outbreaks among staff and inmates during his term as the head.
Of course, this begs the question, who will replace him, and how will they be? Traditionally, the replacement of the BOP head is like the replacement of a warden. Not much improves, and typically it gets worse. I guess we will see.