Barr names new federal prisons director after shakeup following Epstein's death

Barr names new federal prisons director after shakeup following Epstein's death
© Getty Images

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrAppeals court sides with Trump on federal execution policy Barr tells prosecutors to consider coronavirus risk when determining bail: report Decentralized leadership raises questions about Trump coronavirus response MORE has named a new head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons after the bureau reorganized following Jeffrey Epstein’s death.

Barr announced Tuesday that Michael Carvajal will become the new director of the bureau, replacing Kathy Hawk Sawyer, whom Barr asked to step in after Epstein was found dead in his New York jail cell. 

Carvajal, who joined the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 1992, currently serves as the assistant director of the department’s correctional programs division, making him responsible for the bureau’s intelligence efforts, the Witness Security and Victim-Witness Programs and inmate transportation, among other duties. 


“Michael’s nearly 30 years of experience with the Bureau will serve him exceptionally well as he takes on these new responsibilities, and I am confident he will do an outstanding job as director,” Barr said in a statement.  

“I want to thank Kathy Hawk Sawyer for her exceptional leadership and helping us identify a highly qualified individual to serve as permanent director,” he added. 

Hawk Sawyer, who had served as the director from 1992 to 2003, didn’t intend to stay permanently but fulfilled an acting role to stabilize the bureau after Epstein’s death and after Barr removed the previous acting director. She will now act as a senior adviser.

Senior Justice Department officials told The Associated Press that the bureau is better prepared to implement President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE’s criminal reform legislation after Hawk Sawyer’s tenure. 

Epstein’s death thrust the bureau, which had been dealing with staff shortages and violence for years, into the spotlight.

The disgraced financier was found dead in his cell in August in an apparent suicide, as he was awaiting trial for sexually abusing and trafficking minors.

Two correctional guards, who were tasked with checking on Epstein the night he died, have pleaded not guilty to charges that they lied on prison records to say they checked on him when they allegedly didn’t.