Senate holds hearing on crisis-ridden federal prisons

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The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said Friday he plans to hold a hearing on the crisis-ridden federal Bureau of Prisons after The The US Express News reported that the agency is keeping its embattled ex-executive director on its payroll as an adviser to his successor.

sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who last November demanded that Michael Carvajal be fired amid numerous failings, told the TUSEN in a statement that he was stunned by the continuing misconduct within the agency and his reluctance to cut the ties. to sever completely with the former director.

Carvajal resigned in January but remained in charge of the Bureau of Prisons until its new director, Colette Peters, was sworn in on Tuesday after a lengthy search process.

On Thursday, the TUSEN reported that Carvajal will remain as a senior adviser to Peters, the former director of Oregon’s state prison system, until the end of the month.

After speaking with Peters this week, Durbin said he “hopes for serious reforms at BOP” but that it is time to move on with Carvajal’s failed leadership.

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“It’s no secret that the Bureau of Prisons is plagued with misconduct,” Durbin said, pointing to his calls for Carvajal’s impeachment last fall. “It’s time to leave the scandals and mismanagement of the Carvajal era in the past and focus on fixing this broken institution.”

“Therefore, in addition to my commitment to work with new BOP leaders, I plan to hold a BOP oversight hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee when we return from the state working period in August,” Durbin said.

Durbin did not give a date for the hearing or say what could be called witnesses or topics that could be discussed. The Senate returns from its August recess after Labor Day.

Peters has promised to review the federal agency, which has been plagued by numerous problems during Carvajal’s two years in charge. She has pledged greater transparency and accountability to the Bureau of Prisons, the Justice Department’s largest component with a budget of more than $8 billion.

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Carvajal, a legacy of the Trump administration, tendered his resignation on Jan. 5 amid growing attention to his leadership in the wake of TUSEN reporting that revealed widespread problems at the Bureau of Prisons, including rampant sexual assault in a California women’s prison, widespread criminal behavior by staff, dozens of escapes, deaths and staffing problems hampering emergency response.

Durbin demanded Carvajal’s resignation last November after the TUSEN revealed that more than 100 Bureau of Prisons employees have been arrested, convicted or convicted of crimes since early 2019. December.

“Since day one, Director Carvajal has shown no intention to reform the institution,” Durbin said. “For years, the Bureau of Prisons has been plagued by corruption, chronic understaffing and misconduct by senior officials.”

By then, Carvajal was already sitting on the hot seat. Biden administration officials had discussions over whether or not to remove Carvajal in the spring of 2021, after the TUSEN reported widespread correctional officer vacancies forced prisons to use cooks, teachers, nurses and other workers to guard inmates. expand.

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In one of his last appearances as director, Carvajal clashed with senators in a hearing last week for refusing to take responsibility for a culture of corruption and misconduct that has plagued his agency for years.

Carvajal, who testified before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, insisted he was protected from trouble by his subordinates. But it had been copied on emails, and some of the issues were detailed in reports generated by the agency’s headquarters.

Carvajal blamed the size and structure of the Bureau of Prisons for his ignorance of issues such as prisoner suicides, sexual abuse, and the free flow of drugs, weapons and other contraband.

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On Twitter, follow Michael Balsamo at twitter.com/mikebalsamo1 and Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak. Send confidential tips by going to https://www.TUSEN.org/tips/

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