Attorney General Bill Barr appointed two new officials to lead the Federal Bureau of Prisons following the death of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, who died of apparent suicide while in federal custody.
Kathleen Hawk Sawyer was appointed to be the director of the bureau and Thomas Kane as the deputy, the Department of Justice announced in a statement on Monday.
“I am pleased to welcome back Dr. Hawk Sawyer as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Under Dr. Hawk Sawyer’s previous tenure at the Bureau, she led the agency with excellence, innovation, and efficiency, receiving numerous awards for her outstanding leadership,” Barr said in the statement.
The new leadership team will replace Hugh Hurwitz, who was serving as the acting head of the bureau for the past year. In the statement, Barr thanked Hurwitz for his service and said he would be returning his previous position as assistant director of the bureau’s reentry services division.
It is unclear if the leadership change is part of a broader shakeup by the Justice Department to handle the fallout of the Epstein’s death. Barr did not mention the Epstein case in the release.
However, Barr has already ordered staff changes in response to the apparent suicide. The warden of the Metropolitan Correctional Center was reassigned and the two guards who were supposed to be checking on Epstein were placed on leave. Barr has made it clear that he is “angry” that the billionaire financier was left unsupervised long enough to apparently hang himself in his jail cell and has ordered an FBI probe into the death.
The New York City Chief Medical Examiner determined last week that Epstein died as a result of suicidal hanging.