Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) reiterated his support for the removal of Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal in a speech on the Senate floor last Thursday, claiming that he “has showed no intention of improving the system.”

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Carvajal testifying

Durbin, the Senate’s second-ranking member (and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee), cited a recent Associated Press investigation revealing that over 100 BOP officers and employees had been criminally charged in the past two years – a rate more than double the Department of Justice average – for crimes ranging from smuggling contraband into facilities to sexual abuse of prisoners.
“The Bureau of Prisons has been plagued with corruption, chronic understaffing, and high-ranking officers’ wrongdoing for years,” Durbin added.
He also mentioned sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide in 2019 at MCC New York, which closed earlier this year.

“Under Carvajal’s leadership, the agency has experienced a multitude of crises, ranging from the rampant spread of coronavirus inside prisons and a failed response to the pandemic to dozens of escapes, deaths, and critically low staffing levels that have hampered responses to emergencies,” the Associated Press reported last Thursday—after the release of the AP article, DruckDurbin, whose Judiciary Committee oversees the BOP, initially advocated for Carvajal’s dismissal on November 16.
According to the Associated Press, BOP personnel engaged in “rampant illegal activities,” and the government “has turned a blind eye to workers suspected of misconduct.”

In his remarks, Durbin mentioned the BOP’s selection of Lamine N’Diaye as warden of FCI Fort Dix.
When notorious child abuser Jeffrey Epstein died, apparently by suicide, N’Diaye was the warden at MCC New York.
“The move was blocked by then-Attorney General William Barr after the AP reported the transfer,” according to the AP. The BOP earlier sought to install N’Diaye in the Fort Dix role, but “the move was stopped by then-Attorney General William Barr after the AP reported the transfer.” “The BOP stated in January 2020 that it would suspend N’Diaye’s transfer to the FCI Fort Dix job until the Epstein probe was concluded, but the transition was done nevertheless.”

“Director Carvajal has failed to address the escalating issues in our nation’s federal prison system in the almost two years since he took head of the Bureau,” Durbin stated on Thursday.
“A new, reform-minded leadership at the Bureau of Prisons is long overdue.” Carvajal was chosen by Attorney General William Barr of the Trump administration.
Current Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, on the other hand, has stated that she had faith in his leadership. Last June, the Associated Press reported that the Biden administration was considering replacing Carvajal, one of the few Trump administration holdovers at the Justice Department.

Many people believe that now is the moment to do so.
According to Amy Fettig, executive director of the Sentencing Project, the Bureau of Prisons is “essentially unaccountable to the public,” the “people it pretends to safeguard,” and even its personnel.
“A government institution that functions with such little public accountability should never exist,” Fettig said of the BOP.
“Bad things happen” when we do, she explained.

Last Friday, the US Attorney for Northern California stated that John Bellhouse had been charged with many counts of sexual assault of a female prisoner at FCI Dublin as if to put a cap on it.

Business Insider, Top Democrat calls on Biden administration to fire the Trump-era head of federal prisons, citing inmate abuse and the death of Jeffrey Epstein (December 2, 2021)

AP, Durbin: Prisons chief has ‘no intention of reforming’ system (December 2, 2021)

AP, AP Exclusive: Feds backtrack on the transfer of Epstein warden (January 28, 2020)

Washington Post, Lawbreakers in federal prisons include prison staff, report finds; senators demand accountability (December 1, 2021)

Press Release, US Attorney for Northern California, Federal Correctional Officer Charged With Sexual Abuse of an Inmate (December 3, 2021)